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Full text of "Mammoth Adventure Volume 1 Number 3 (Ziff-Davis Publishing)"

NOVEMBER 25< 



IN CANADA 30< 



> 







7fo CASSOCK and the SWOR 

By TOM W. BLACKBURN 




QoilW W ft W MSB ? 



Now that the war's over and a lot more civilian 
goods are on the market, it's a big temptation 
to spend just about all you make, and not put 
anything aside. 

But to fall for that temptation is plenty dan- 
gerous. It's like trying to live in the house above 
—a house that might come tumbling down about 
your ears at the first little blow of hard luck. 

Right now the best possible way to keep your 
finances in sound shape is to save regularly — by 
buying U. S. Savings Bonds through the Payroll 
Plan. 

These Bonds are exactly like War Bonds. 
Millions of Americans have found them the 



safest, easiest, surest way to save. The U.S.A. 
protects every dollar you invest— and Uncle Sam 
gives you his personal guarantee that, in just 
ten years, you'll get four dollars back for every 
three you put in ! 

If you stick with the Payroll Savings Plan, 
you'ii not only guard against rainy days, you'll 
also be storing up money for the really important 
things — like send^g your children to college, 
traveling, or buying a home. 

So — any way you look at it— isn't it smart to 
buy every single U. S. Bond you can possibly 
afford! 

Stick with the Payroll Savings Plan ! 



SAV£ THE EASY WAY.. . BUY YOUR BONDS 
THROUGH PAYROLL SAVINGS 

ZIFF-DAVIS PUBLISHING COMPANY 



This is an official V. S. Treasury advertisement— prepared under auspices of 
Treasury Department and Advertising Council 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



What keeps 

YOU 

from making more 

MONEY? 



Just what is the matter — why aren't you 
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Probably many of the people you know 
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What's the reason? 

Your own native ability is probably just 
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money proves that. Success in business 
today is measured by the dollar sign. 

The secret is this — the man who pre- 
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who gets advancement and more money. 
He doesn't need "pull." The man who 
really has something on the ball — "push" 
enables him to get what he wants. 

Ambitious men and women have found 
in LaSalle the way to get ahead in busi- 
ness. This has been going on for 38 years. 
Hundreds of thousands of students have 
enrolled — our files are full of grateful let- 
ters from people who have bettered their 
earnings and position through LaSalle. 




Perhaps we can help you. You should at 
least find out. The coupon below will bring 
full information. Just check the field of 
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you can prepare in your spare time at 
moderate cost. 

For a brighter future in the business 
world — more money and a better job — 
send the coupon today. Tomorrow you 
might forget. G. I. APPROVED. 




LASALLE Extension University 

a Correspondence Institution 

Dept. R--300 Chicago, III. 

I want to better my position — make more money. 
Send me your free booklet on the field I have checked 
below. 

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□ Stenotypy (Machine Shorthand) 



Name.. 



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,/fSS? STORIES gomfotete 

THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD (Novelet— 10,000). ... by Tom W. Blackburn. . 9 

Illustrated by William A. Gray 
Sometimes the way to bolster up a man spiritually is to prod him with a few inches of cold steel. 

THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET (Novelet— 21,000) by Richard S. Shaver. . . 28 

Illustrated by Robert Fuqua 
When you are given the secret to a great treasure, it is well to accept it with a grain of salt. 

OUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP (Novelet— 14,000) by Chester S. Geier . 64 

Illustrated by George Eads 
Before you go looking for riches, a prerequisite is to find both halves of a map — if there is a map! 

VALIANT DUST (Short— 3,600) by Joseph C. Chadwick 88 

Illustrated by J. Allen St. John 
One by one they dropped to the sand of the desert, exhausted victims of the brutishness of man. 

"CONVINCE ME, I SAID" (Short— 2,000) by Craig Ellis 98 

Illustrated by James B. Settles 
There's an old saw about crossing the equator at sea that takes on a new angle with a submarine. 

THE CRAZY INDIAN (Short Novel— 35.000) by William G. Bogart. . 104 

Illustrated by Robert Fuqua 
New York is the last place you'd look for an Indian — but maybe the first if he was a erary Indian. 

WANTED: DEAD MAN (Short— 6,000) by Berkeley Livingston 160 

Illustrated by Rod Ruth 
Big fists are handy, but if you haven't got 'em, there are other weapons that can be employed. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



NOVEMBER 1946 



VOLUME 1 



NUMBER 3 



,/ftt FEATURES &*«#&& 



THE EDITOR'S PAGE by The Editor 6 

In which the editor tells a little about everything and in general throws his weight around. 

FLOATING HELL by Henrietta Browne .... 26 

You've heard of the old prison ships of the 18th century? Well here's the whole ghastly story. 

FEMALE BLUEBEARD by Pete Bogg 62 

Yes, there's an historical counterpart to the famous Bluebeard — and the old boy had notning on herl 

ORAL ODDITIES by Leslie Anderson 63 

Always shooting off your mouth, eh? Well, here's something about oral cavities to think about. 

RUFFIAN DICK: EXPLORER by Robert Clayton 87 

He was a tough one, and for that reason, he made quite a name for himself as an explorer. 

NEPTUNE'S MAIDENS by A. Morris 103 

The lad with the pitchfork who rules the ocean depths had quite a large and lovely family! 



Front eovef painting by Robert ©ibion Jones illustrating a scene from "The Cassock and the Sword.' 



Copyright 1944, ZIFF-DAVIS PUBLISHING COMPANY 

Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations 

William B. Ziff, Publisher; B. G. Davis, Editor; Raymond A. Palmer, Managing Editor; Howard Browne, Associate 

Editor; William L. Hamling, Assistant Editor- Henry Bott Assistant Editor; Herman R. Boffin, Art Director; Malcolm 
Smith, Art Editor; H. S. Strong, Circulation Director; H. J. Morganroth, Production Director. 
We dc not accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. To facilitate han- 
dling, the author should enclose a self-addressed envelope with the requisite postage attached, and art- 
ists should enclose or forward return postage. Accepted materiel isi > subject to whatever revision is nec- 
essary to meet requirements. Payment covers all authors,' contributors' and contestants' magazine 
rights in the U. S. A. and all other countries and for publicity and promotion in connection therewith, 
and will be mede at our current rates upon acceptance, unless otherwise specified by special agree- 
ment. All photos and drawings will be considered as part of material purchased. The names of ajl 
characters that are used in short stories, serials and semi-fiction articles that deal with types are ficti- 
tious. Use of a name that is the same as that of any living person is coincidental. 



Published bt-monthI.T by ZIFF-DAVIS PTTBLISHINa COMPANY at U5 North Wabaah Ave.. 
MAMMOTH Cbioago 1, DX New York OfS.ce. Empire State Building, New Tori 3, N. T. Washington Of- 
ADVENTUM nee. International Building, 1319 F Street. N.W.. Washington 4. D. C. Subscription 32.50 for Volume 1 
NOVEMBER ls Issues: Canada 33.00; Foreign 34.50. Subscribers should sllow at lesst two weeks for Number 3 
1346 change of address. All communications about subscriptions should be addressed to the Director 

Of Circulation. Ziff-Davis I-ublishlng Company, 135 North Wabash Ave.. Chicago 1, Hi. 



L/he C^ditorS f^c 



uae 



9> 



WE'VE had Tom W. Blackburn in mind 
ever since we first thought of Mammoth 
Adventure, and we don't mind saying 
that it's a great pleasure to welcome him to our 
pages. In "The Cassock And The Sword" you'll 
find a rare treat. It's one of those historical 
novelettes that take a skilled hand to turn out. 
From the first line you'll see what we mean. And 
unless we miss our guess you'll be wanting to see 
more of Tom Blackburn in future issues. Then 
to top this story off there's the swell cover by 
Robert Gipson Jones. Your editor feels that Mr. 
Jones is one of the finest magazine illustrators in 
the business. He gets a "feeling" in his work that 
is not easy to achieve. And he has that smooth 
professional touch that makes him a master in his 
trade. We don't mind saying that the original to 
this painting is framed and hanging on our office 
wall! 

"D ICHARD S. SHAVER is a newcomer to the 
pages of Mammoth Adventure, but he is by 
no means a newcomer to the writing game. Shaver 
is the author of the very popular "cave" stories 
in our big sister magazine Amazing Storks. We 
might point out along this line that you adventure 
fans who are looking for something really out of 
the ordinary in the line of adventure, will find 
more than enough of it in Mr. Shaver's stones in 
Amazing Stories. We suggest you give them a 
whirl. In this issue Mr. Shaver presents a short 
adventure yarn with an unusual twist. He writes 
about a golden nugget with a microscopic map 
engraved on its surface. You'll meet a race of 
Incas that were extinct long ago, and — but that 
would be telling you the story. 

CHESTER S. GEIER returns to the pages of 
MA with an unusual novelette, "Quest Of 
The Split Map." You probably remember Geier's 
story, "Secret Of The Andes" in one of the past 
issues — at any rate your fan mail says so, and we 
guarantee you'll enjoy this present story just as 
well. For you Geier fans we'd like to point out 
that Chet has a novel length fantasy adventure 
in the current issue of our companion magazine, 
Fantastic Adventures. In this present story, Geier 
tells about a fabulous bonanza in Alaska, the key 
to which is held in a split map. But the two peo- 
ple who hold sections of the map find it pretty 
hard to get together on it . . . 



"■yALIA> 

" advent 



ALIANT DUST" is another off-trail historical 
ure story that we think you'll enjoy. 
Jos< ph Chadwick writes about the conquistadores 
of New Spain, and what happened when the glories 
of conquest faded away and the brutal reality of 
the aftermath of war became evident. It's a story 



of small people — the men who do the fighting, and 
dying . . . 

/^RAIG ELLIS is a very popular detective and 
^ mystery writer for our companion magazines, 
Mammoth Mystery and Mammoth Detective. 
Some of his novels are out in pocket book form 
right now. So you can see we're glad to present 
him to you in this issue with his short story, 
"Convince Me, I Said." Craig was in the Army 
and he got the idea for the story while serving 
his country. He heard the boys in the barracks 
telling stories — with plenty of accent on stories, 
and he decided to do one himself. It's a tale that 
might need a lot of convincing, depending on how 
you look at it. But that's for you to decide. 

WILLIAM G. BOGART has a long novelette 
in this issue entitled, "The Crazy Indian." The 
title alone was enough to arouse our interest when 
Bogart brought the manuscript in to us. 

WANTED— Dead Man," is the title of Berke- 
ley Livingston's contribution to fill up the 
issue. And we think it's a pretty good closing note. 
The story concerns a little guy with big ideas who 
tangles with a couple of men who are even bigger 
than his ideas. . . . What happens provides a lot of 
rib-tickling entertainment. It's told in the inimit- 
able Livingston manner, which ought to be a 
good enough guarantee for some fine reading. 

TVTEXT month we'll have a number of treats in 
*^ store for you. Leading off with the cover 
story, Chester S. Geier presents a short novel 
entitled, "The Island of Vanishing Men." This is 
one of the best adventure yarns it has ever been 
our pleasure to publish, and we think you'll agree 
with us when you read it. Also in the issue will 
be a long novelette by a talented newcomer, 
Leonard Finley Hilts, entitled, "Apache Squaw 
Man." This story is a tale of the old frontier days, 
when a man's honor was measured by his scalp. 
It's a tough, action packed yarn that will have 
you sitting on the edge of your chair. Don't miss it. 

SINCE this is your magazine we'd certainly like 
to hear your reactions to the type of stories 
we are giving you. So far we've achieved a pretty 
fair balance between modern action adventures, 
off-trail stories, and historical adventures. Let us 
know which type you like best — or whether you 
prefer the "balanced diet" you've been reading 
thus far. 

WHICH just about winds up things for this 
month. Keep your eye on your favorite 
newsstand for your favorite magazine! See you 
next month . . . Rap. 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



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by Practicing in Spare Time 



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* Pitts, 




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Many Beginners Soon Make Extra 
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show how to make EXTRA money fix- 
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because the Radio Repair Business is 
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MR. J. E. SMITH, President, Dspt. 6MW1 
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Mall me FREE your sample lesson and 64- 
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AND THE SWORD 



bu *Jt 



om 



W. ELM 



urn 



In times of stress the Friar bowed his 
head in prayer — and forthwith drew his sword. 



The friar's sword lashed out 
venegefully as the screaming girl tore 
desperately at her assailant's body . . . 



HE day was hot in the City of 
The Name of God. And it was 
dull. Juan Espadin, who could 



judge a woman's virtue at one hundred 
varas of distance, eyed an approaching 
shawl-draped figure without interest. It 



10 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



was that hot and that dull. 

Juan Espadin was justly an unhappy 
man. The passage out to New Spain 
from the homeland had been nearly as 
dull as were the streets of Nombre de 
Dios. A man must fight dullness as he 
fights an enemy. In Cordoba the house 
of Espadin had long been noted for its 
skill at gaming. Gualaf Who would 
think a man of that house could lose his 
modest fortune in a single ship-board 
game — and make an enemy, besides? 
Yet It was so. 

Espadin grinned ruefully and shifted 
along the wall against which he idly 
leaned. The woman on the walk passed 
him. He no more than saw her, his eyes 
turned inward on his misfortune. How 
could a man guess that the simpering 
dandy he had so elegantly insulted at 
the captain's table was a man of note 
in this city? Foul luck, nothing more! 
It now appeared that Dario Lozan was 
not only a man of note, but that his 
family ruled this colony. 

Behold, city guards had sought Espa- 
din within an hour of his landing. Their 
captain was a Vicente Lozan. They 
brought an order banning the Cavalier 
Juan Espadin from Nombre by sunset. 
It was signed by Reinaldo Lozan, Gov- 
ernor. Behind the order was the threat 
of the old Inquisition, recently revived 
in this colony, and Alfredo Lozan was 
Chief Inquisitor of Nombre. 

Por Dios, the Lozan were numerous 
doe;s! Espadin shrugged. He must leave 
the city. But how? Along through the 
jungle swamps across the isthmus to 
Panama? Foolhardy he might be, but 
a friol — no! The beasts and brigands 
of that steamy dark made no distinction 
between the rich and honest men. It 
was yet three days until a train of silver 
mules and a company of soldiery would 
make the trip. Wait or stay, it was a 
bad matter. 

Espadin shifted again. A stir drew 



his lagging interest up the street. The 
woman with the shawl — and a man. He 
was about to turn away. Had not the 
woman passed within a yard of him 
without casting so much as a glance at 
him — without raising one spark of in- 
terest in return? She must be, in fact, 
a hag under her veil. It was the man 
who interested him. An old pig. And 
showy. The Toledo blade at his side 
vvas too long for his arms. He was too 
hasty, without a swordsman's grace. 
And he lacked an Espadin's judgment 
in women. 

"PSPADIN started leisurely up the 
street. It was not his affair, but a 
man should not wear the gear of a cav- 
alier without first learning the duties 
of a gentleman. The man had a firm 
grip on one of the woman's arms, halt- 
ing her. He turned angrily at Juan's 
touch. Juan saw an arrogant face which 
was somehow familiar. 

"Tall friend," he told the face with 
formality, "the lady has grown already 
weary of you. I tell you this to save 
embarrassment." 

"Embarrassment!" the man pro- 
tested hotly. "You misbegotten swine! 
Hands off, hands off! You accost me? 
Todos los santos! I'll read you a les- 
son—!" 

Only the great could afford such an- 
ger over so small a matter. Espadin 
wondered who this spindly old follower 
of veiled women might be. But it was a 
faint curiosity. He stepped back a pace 
and as the man's long Toledo scraped 
from its scabbard, his own Cordoban 
steel sang in his hand. He was stiff from 
long weeks on shipboard. He took no 
chance. A man and his sword seldom 
look alike and a clever wrist is often in 
an old arm. He made a single feint and 
set his point a handbreath into the 
man's shoulder. 

The fellow bleated as though struck 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



11 



nigh to death and sagged to his knees. 
Espadin caught a fistful of velvet in the 
crown of the man's fanciful hat and 
wiped his blade clean of such thin 
blood. He bowed then, and spoke pleas- 
antly. 

"My advice, Senor — it comes free 
with a pinking. Forget the lady — and 
get a shorter blade. It takes a stout 
man to make a cloth-yard of Toledo 
dance properly!" 

Outraged, the man gave over his 
moaning and began to shout for assist- 
ance. 

"Guardia municipal! Aquil Aqui! 
Help, brigands! I am killed! Bring 
soldiers, bring police ! Swiftly ! " 

A sharp blow struck the calf of 
Juan's leg. He wheeled. Only the wom- 
an was behind him. She had swept back 
her veil, exposing the face of a red- 
lipped, warm-eyed saint. Espadin was 
stunned. For Dios, how could he have 
made such a mistake? A hag — ail — 
perhaps in a hundred years. But beau- 
tiful, now! This old fool who thought 
a shoulder pink a mortal wound had 
showed better judgment than a Cordo- 
ban. 

Ah, well, a man is entitled to one mis- 
take. And he should be in favor. Such 
a beauty could feel but nausea at the 
old goat who had halted her. She would 
be grateful for a cavalier. And, per- 
haps, there would be reward. Bien for- 
tuna! Even in Nombre de Dios an en- 
terprising man might find an end to 
dullness. 

Espadin bent low. 

"Senorita — " he said, "Juan Espadin 
of Cordoba—" 

The old goat left off bellowing. His 
eyes sharpened malevolently. 

"Espadin?" he snarled. "I shall re- 
member that name!" 

At the same instant the girl's thick 
skirts rustled and a sharply shod little 
foot struck Juan's leg again solidly. 



And she loosed a torrent of bitter abuse. 

"Fool! Pig! You and your hasty 
sword! Before God, I hate cava- 
liers! For three days I have baited my 
trap. Then, when my game at last is 
in hand, you spit him! You, then, can 
answer to Brother Paco when he asks 
where is this worst of the Lozans — the 
carrion I promised to bring him!" 

Espadin saw soldiery at the lower 
end of the street, all too plainly in 
haste. He stood motionless, appalled 
at the continuing flavor of his luck. 

"This—" he choked, "—this is also 
a Lozan?" 

The girl nodded. Then she saw the 
guards. Wrapping her skirts close, she 
ran. Another company of soldiers ap- 
peared at the upper end of the street, 
cutting off escape. The girl ignored 
them, running lightly and with the pur- 
posefulness of one who knows where 
she goes. Espadin looked at the two 
companies of city guardsmen — doubt- 
less numbering among them still more 
of the innumerable clan which seemed 
to flush like rats from the stones of 
Nombre. He felt a tightness in him. 

Pues, he was a clever fellow ! He had 
insulted one of a family. He had ig- 
nored the orders of another. And he 
had pinked a third to make certain of 
their affection. All for the whiling of 
a dull afternoon and a girl! 

Juan Espadin was not a man to run 
after a woman. The dignity of a cava- 
lier set certain limits in such matters. 
But the guards were close. He over- 
took the girl as she dodged into the 
doorway of a large house which backed 
up to the outer wall of the city. 

CHAPTER II 

Jungle Friar 

HHHE house was empty, apparently 
long deserted. The girl raced 



12 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



through dusty rooms to a door set in 
the rear wall of the last. The planking 
was old. It stuck under her hand. The 
guardia sounded close in the street. Es- 
padin hit the door, drove it open, and 
wheeled with drawn sword to face the 
guards should they break into the room 
before the girl had a fair start. But she 
pulled insistently at his arm. 

"This way will be useless to the 
brotherhood, now!" she panted. "It 
will be watched, thanks to the alarm 
you raised. But we're safe from here 
on. Come — !" 

Espadin obeyed. The door let into 
a tunnel under the city wall. The tun- 
nel ended in a thicket. The girl found 
a trail with the ease of familiarty. The 
smell of the city faded with the sun- 
light. In its place was the damp aroma 
of growing things and the perpetual 
twilight of rank, tree shaded under- 
growth. The swamp — the jungle! 

Espadin was uneasy. He was a man 
to see things as they were. He knew 
what kind of government was set up by 
most of the favored nobles sent out by 
the King to rule his colonial lands. 
There were Indians in this jungle who 
would admire a fine Spanish head like 
his own as a token of revenge for many 
injustices. And there were brigands 
who would count a knife-stroke fair ex- 
change for the privilege of feeling of his 
pockets. 

The girl ran untroubled through the 
gloom. She ran lightly and steadily. Es- 
padin was vain of his body. He gave 
it certain care and it served him ex- 
ceedingly well. Yet he was drenched 
with sweat and his lungs were heaving 
when the girl at last stopped in a broken 
clearing. 

She gave him a glance yet tinged with 
bitterness and whistled — a shrill sound 
from such soft lips. The whistle echoed 
and the clearing was suddenly full of 
men. Some were Indians, sullen faced 



and shadowy. More were brigands. The 
rest were the poor which crowd the 
streets of any colonial city — victims of 
swindle and false hopes and rapacious 
taxation. They were a strange crowd 
but the strangest was a round, ruddy- 
faced man with a bushy fringe of gray 
hair around a red and shining pate. He 
wore the robe of a holy order, but he 
looked like a teacher from the College 
of King's Wrestlers at Cadiz. His 
stocky body was as solid as the walls 
of Nombre. 

The face was that of a man Espadin 
could savor, with the color of a bottle 
of claret and the genial humor af Ma- 
laga from a cask. Little round eyes 
winked measurement and the robed 
man turned to the girl. 

"Not Reinaldo, not Alfredo, not Vi- 
cente, not Dario — nay, nor any of the 
rest. This is no Lozan! Pepita, you 
have disappointed us!" 

The girl nodded grimly. 

"Ail" she spat. "And ask this one 
why! He is yours, Paco. He owns a 
swift blade. Where is Father Monte- 
santo? I must talk with him." 

Brother Paco tipped his head toward 
a great tree beyond the clearing. 

"In the chapel, still. Nor has he 
eaten. Give him food, Pepita. Make 
him eat. Then, if he would come out 
among the men again — they lose heart 
and need his voice — " 

The girl shrugged weary assent and 
moved away. Brother Paco called after 
her. 

"Pepita — you had word from your 
father?" 

The girl's voice floated back heavily. 

"Does a man speak from the Inquisi- 
tion with Lozans in the church?" 

"DROTHER PACO frowned darkly. 
Suddenly he wheeled back to Es- 
padin. 
"Friend, your catechism!" I instruct 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



13 



you. When Reinaldo Lozan became 
governor of Nombre, he wrought many 
changes. Father Montesanto. bishop 
of the city, was driven out to make 
room for a friend of the Lozan who also 
wore the cloth. Felipe de Ardenas. 
commander of the old guards, was 
brought before the governor and or- 
dered to levy taxes for the Lozan as 
well as the King. He was also ordered 
to pass the keys and hiding place of 
the old city's treasury to the Lozan. 
These things he refused. He was then 
sent to the Chambers of Inquisition, un- 
used in Father Montesanto's time, but 
bloody enough since. 

"Remember these things well. None 
here forget them. You have been 
brought to us by Felipe's daughter, 
Rosalia de Ardenas, whom we call 
Pepita. Those who hate the Lozans 
have gathered here. Those who have 
suffered find shelter with us. We are 
a brotherhood, united under Father 
Montesanto for— ah — prayer and self- 
preservation. You would join us?" 

The man's ruddy face was beaded 
with sweat when he was finished. Juan 
saw here was a man unaccustomed to 
much talk and the use of fine phrases. 
Slowly Juan swept the circle of faces 
about him. Among other duties, such 
as preserving his life and health, Espa- 
din had a fortune to regain. This com- 
pany seemed barren ground. He had 
need of acquaintance with rank and 
wealth, the company of silks and velvet, 
if he was to fare well in this land. The 
dark of this swamp depressed him. 

"I travel toward Panama," he said. 
"I am delayed only until I can reach a 
mule-train on the highway." 

Brother Paco shook his head grimly. 

"Only members of the brotherhood 
may stay one night in our haven. Will 
join?" 

Espadin shrugged. Pues, why not? 
There was, after all, the girl Pepita. 



How could even these jackals be op- 
pressive when she was at hand? Brother 
Paco asked his name. He gave it. 
Brother Paco grinned disarmingly. 

"Pepita has said you own a swift 
sword. We will see to that. But first 
a man of God must see to the temper of 
his flock. Art a hasty man, Juan Es- 
padin?" 

Espadin had no time for answer. The 
flat of a thick hand rapped smartly 
against his cheek. He was stunned for 
an instant. Anger shook him. He 
stepped back, intending to repay the 
holy brother's caress with a like one 
from the flat of his rapier. Brother 
Paco moved swiftly. His cassock was 
swept back over steel belted under it 
and a good blade winked and rang 
against Espadin's own weapon. 

"Oho!" Brother Paco exulted. "Art 
quick with the steel. Juanito! Pepita 
told us true. But art good with it? 
That is a thing to know — " 

Espadin lunged. He met a wrist of 
iron. He feinted and was held. Brother 
Paco thrust. Espadin gave, reversed, 
and layed open a rent in the man's cas- 
sock. It settled to something magnifi- 
cent. The squat man was a magician. 
Grandee or rake, man of honor or vaga- 
bond, Juan Espadin had never met this 
burly one's equal. The skill of a dozen 
generations of swordsmen born flick- 
ered wickedly in Juan Espadin's Cordo- 
ban blade. This jungle friar met it fair. 

Espadin's arm grew heavy. The man 
in the cassock seemed lighter on his 
feet, more wicked in his thrusting. 
Then, suddenly, it came. An old trick, 
learned from a grandfather. Brother 
Paco's blade slipped from his hand. He 
tripped and fell. Juan leaped forward 
and bent with his point at a corded 
throat. 

Brother Paco looked up at him. But 
without fear. Little eyes danced with 
admiring pleasure and he laughed. 



14 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Aho! Aha! Por Dios— he'd spit 
Paco like a pig! Pepita! Where is the 
little flower? Pepita, come here! This 
one will do. How he will do! Before 
long we have fun in Nombre de Dios — 
I promise you it!" 

CHAPTER III 
For Fortune 

A T THE supper fires Pepita reap- 
peared with a thin, white faced old 
man. Had he been without his robes of 
office, Espadin would have known Fa- 
ther Montesanto. The man made Espa- 
din uncomfortable, there was that much 
of goodness about him. Pepita, gentlest 
of this company, was near to being a 
witch for the bitterness in her. And 
Paco — ail — even a saint does not learn 
such mastery of living steel without 
consorting with the devil in the learning 
of it. Among the round hundred other 
faces about the fires were many wolves 
and few sheep. Violence and unrequited 
wrongs burned close to the surface of 
them all. 

Yet, when the good bishop came 
among them, harsh tongues were silent 
and rough hands turned gentle. As- 
suredly he was a man beloved. 

The father had barely seated himself 
when his eyes fell upon Espadin. 

"I see a new face tonight, my daugh- 
ter," he said. Pepita bent forward and 
spoke quietly in his ear. The old man 
nodded and his voice was touched with 
gentle reproof when he spoke again. 

"These are times to try us all, my 
son," he said. "We built the King a 
city and he has used our labor to re- 
ward men of evil. But violence will not 
counter violence and a sword may not 
save a man's soul. Give yourself to the 
keeping of our brother, Paco. He will 
instruct you in our ways and the meat 
of our prayers — " 



When the fires began to die and most 
of the banished citizenry of Nombre 
turned to pallets in the brush, Espadin 
grew restless. His belly was full but 
his pockets empty. He circled the 
clearing and came to the huge tree un- 
der which an altar had been raised. The 
good father's chapel. He eyed it won- 
dering what manner of men these people 
of Nombre were who looked to a feeble 
old man for revenge and turned their 
hands to chapel building when the one 
road to salvation must lie in blood and 
ringing steel through the streets of the 
city from which they had been driven. 

"Why do we hide here when the road 
is plain?" he asked. 

Pepita raised one shoulder listlessly. 

"Consult with Paco — " 

It was a flat enough rebuff. But it 
seemed there was a flash of kindness in 
the deep eyes, the barest reflection of 
his own ready ardor. It gave him heart. 

"Paco — guala! — a great one with a 
sword, I don't deny. But lacking in 
charm. I come to you — " 

"I have seen as much," she answered 
quietly. "Art a cavalier, Juan Espadin, 
a figure of a man and a fine gay devil. 
I'll not say you no to that. But it is 
as nothing with me. How can water 
come from a dry well? My heart is 
dead!" 

Juan snorted in half anger. 

"The warm blood of Castile cannot 
thin so much in ten generations in these 
sun-blasted seas, let alone one! The 
heart of a woman of Spain dead because 
jackals burrow in a heap of stones like 
the town at our backs? You only think 
it! But I match the thought. Ill 
trade the head of a cursed Lozan for 
every kiss!" 

The girl suddenly ceased to be Pepi- 
ta. She was again Rosalia de Ardenas. 
Her proud eyes flashed sombre fire and 
Espadin saw deep into her grief. 

"I will trade with any man who will 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



bring me my father — out of the In- 
quisition of the Lozansl" 

CHE was gone, then, and Juan stared 
moodily at the night. A man was 
a fool to bargain with a woman. He 
was bested at the start. To bring a man 
from the chambers of the Inquisition 
was no fair trade. What woman could 
be worth the risk? Yet his mind fell to 
thinking of some artifice by which it 
might be done and he was powerless to 
halt the thought. 

A moment later a hand touched his 
arm and Paco spoke softly beside him. 

"Find another woman and talk with 
her. That Paco will not hear. But 
with Pepita I am always close. It is a 
thing you should know, Jaunito!" 

It was a real enough warning. Such 
devotion to the fair was unseemly in a 
man of holy office. And an Espadin was 
not one to brook inteference in affairs 
of heart. 

"Art a lusty man for a friar!" Jaun 
said savagely. 

Paco looked hurt. 

"Juanito, I have thought we should 
soon have a talk," he said sadly. "Re- 
member that I tell you things only Pe- 
pita knows. First, I am in truth no 
friar. When the Lozans first arrived at 
Nombre, my business did well, for it 
was one which thrived on disorder." 

Juan smiled thinly. 

"A cut-throat and a picker of pock- 
ets," he guessed shrewdly. Paco spread 
his hands deprecatingly. But he 
grinned. 

"Say better — a modest thief," he sug- 
gested. "However, I touched the wrong 
purse. The Lozans set a price on my 
head. I was cornered, but one of their 
frocked jailers for the Inquisition was 
at hand. He suffered accident. I took 
his robe. Fleeing as a friar and hotly 
pressed, I passed the house of Felipe 
de Ardenas. I thought the house empty, 



but a girl beckoned from its door. I 
followed and she showed me a way 
through the city wall into the jungle. 
Here in the swamp I would have bar- 
gained for a change of clothing. But 
Father Montesanto saw me too soon. 

"God witness it, you should have seen 
his joy that another man of the cloth 
had joined him! He did not even ask 
me my order. He needed help. Pepita, 
to whom my life was owing, begged I 
give it. What could a man do? Thus 
Paco became a man of faith! Since, 
while the good father talks most earn- 
estly with El Senor Dios, Pepita and 
myself make certain small forays on 
Nombre which feed our hatred and the 
bellies of the good father's flock at the 
same time. But Nombre is still in the 
hands of that cursed family. They sack 
it as no Englishman has yet dared to 
do. And we strike no real blow in re- 
turn!" 

Paco wiped at his broad red forehead 
with the wide sleeve of his cassock. 

"I tell to you I am sick on it! Do I 
look like a man whose legs are cut for 
skirts? No! And this cursed robe 
scratches like a bed of husks! A cas- 
sock over good steel — I tell you there 
must be an end! Why not tonight? 
We are men of a kidney. We go to 
Nombre, eh? Two blades, honed for 
Lozan guards. We go behind the walls 
of the cathedral. We slit the throats of 
scoundrels hiding in robes not even so 
honest as mine. And we bring Pepita 
her father back. A man could sleep 
better then, eh?" 

JUAN scowled. Paco made it live in 
words — a fit foray for two bright 
swords. But where was the profit? As- 
suredly, Pepita had offered an exchange 
for her father. And a man could find 
much joy in the face of a grateful 
woman. But beauty would not feed a 
man nor found a fortune. 



16 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Paco's eyes narrowed. His face was 
still genial but his eyes turned sly. 

"Ye'll not go, Juanito?" he asked in 
mock astonishment. "Not even for a 
treasure locked in Nombre?" 

This ill-assorted friar had mentioned 
treasure before. The treasury of the 
old city, the hiding place of which Fe- 
lipe de Ardenas would not reveal, even 
before torture. Perhaps the former cap- 
tain of the guards now had enough of 
torture. Having been offered a trade 
by the daughter, it was possible a 
shrewd man might make another with 
the father. The treasure of old Nombre 
would handsomely replace the modest 
funds with which Juan had parted on 
shipboard. It was the curse of the Es- 
padins to be hasty in all things — even 
with 'no' for an answer. A man should 
consider things well. Juan shrugged. 

"You have a plan?" 

Paco's grin gave way to hearty, open 
laughter. 

"AH Juanito, Juanito, art as much 
a dog as Paco!" he roared. "Ye sport 
silk and sweet smells and a jewel in the 
hilt of your steel, but ye'd be no differ- 
ent man in the rags of a brigand! A 
plan? Seguro! The Inquisition lies in 
an old building back of the cathedral. 
It is dark of the moon and guards will 
not be many, I think. Then, there is 
my robe. However far it takes us, we 
will go as friar and friend. After that 
— quick steel, hard thrusting, and swift 
retreat. When we have Felipe de Arde- 
nas out of that cursed prison, we talk to 
him of golden bars. You see it so?" 

Juan nodded, not without uneasiness. 
It was not the nature of a Cordoban to 
take another's planning for a risky 
night's work. But this could not be 
otherwise. Paco knew Nombre. 

JPSPADIN followed the friar through 

a gate into a courtyard back of the 

great buttresses which shored up the 



rear wall of the Catedral de Nombre de 
Dios. A dark, walled yard, closed at its 
lower end by a darker building. Here 
was the Inquisition. Built in the days 
when madmen were masters of the colo- 
nial church, and for the express purpose 
of converting unbelievers by all the im- 
plements of torture known to savage 
man, the evil of the practice yet clung 
to the building. Here was proof of the 
bloody tyranny of the Lozans — the an- 
cient building reopened and its forget- 
ten tortures put to their own use! 

Paco nudged his arm. 

"Walk softly, Juanito!" he whis- 
pered. "The bones of a thousand here- 
tics lie beneath these stones. I've no 
relish for adding ours to the lot!" 

Juan nodded. Half across the court 
a man in priest's robing rose from a 
cluster of stone seats. 

"Pax Vobiscumt" Paco offered aloud. 

'"Pax Vobiscum!" The man in the 
robe replied. And he moved on toward 
the courtyard gate. Paco whispered 
with glee. 

"Fortunate I am a learned man!" he 
boasted. "Were it not for that Latin 
yon black imposter might have raised 
an alarm. I must learn more of the 
magic tongue when we return to the 
swamp — and Father Montesanto!" 

The language of a dead race^ seemed 
a flimsy defense, especially when the 
rescue of another and a chance at for- 
tune lay in the balance. But Juan made 
no protest. The robed man — priest or 
masquerading whelp of the Lozans, 
whichever he might be — appeared satis- 
fied. There was but now to make an en- 
try into the building ahead, silence such 
guards as might be within, and escape 
with Felipe de Ardenas. The sheen of 
smelted gold was already lighting Espa- 
din's eyes when a bellow set up at the 
gate of the courtyard. The man in the 
robe! 

"Hola — turn out — turn out! Dogs 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



17 



in the yard — brigands — theives! Turn 
out!" 

"Magic tongue!" Juan spat. "You 
charmed him with your learning, for a 
fact. He was a guard. The gate is 
closed behind us. Quick, Paco — back- 
to-back with me. A dozen kirtled swine 
cannot down a pair of good blades 
standing in that fashion!" 

Espadin expected sound from his 
companion — a laugh or a stout curse 
which would ring well here in the dark- 
ness. But there was nothing. He 
wheeled to see Paco clawing himself 
with amazing agility up the rough stone 
surface of one of the cathedral butt- 
resses. Even as Juan watched the man 
made a prodigious leap from the but- 
tress to the adjoining courtyard wall. 
Paco was a dark blob there for a mo- 
ment. Then he was gone — outside — to 
safety. 

Juan Espadin, who had a store of 
such for like occasions, swore an oath 
which rang like steel against the walls of 
the yard. A door in the building ahead 
flung open. Men tumbled out. One 
carried a torch. The rest bore pikes. 
They were death's heads, sheathed in 
long black gowns and wearing sack- 
like hoods with pierced eye-holes. Min- 
ions of hell would look like these. From 
the building they quitted came the dank 
odor of bloody sweat and agony. These 
were the iron hands by which the Lo- 
zans ruled a colony for their king. A 
man could run from such and count 
himself no coward. 

And Espadin ran. He flung himself 
against the buttress Paco had scaled. 
Perhaps it was anger at Paco's deser- 
tion—perhaps that the long scabbard of 
rapier fouled his legs. But as the hooded 
devils of the Inquisition reached the 
base of the buttress, old stone crumbled 
in Juan's hands and he fell. He struck 
heavily and fought to his knees. There, 
just as his hand locked to the hilt of 



his sword, the haft of a pike caught him. 
The solid pole of wood rang brazen 
thunder in his head and night vanished 
into a deeper blackness. 

CHAPTER IV 
Cavalier and Soldier 

TN TIME Espadin had an impression 

of a thin, cruel-faced youngster 
standing over him and a kick in the 
ribs which was more than an impres- 
sion. The face belonged to that Dario 
Lozan whose nimble-fingered trickery 
at cards had shorn Juan of his moneys 
and whom he had castigated with insult 
in return. Espadin comforted himself 
that it was but a dream, a part of the 
haze in which a stunned man lies. 

But it was not so. His head ached 
abominably. Could an unconscious man 
feel pain? He forced vision into focus. 
He was in a damp stone room with a low 
ceiling. A flambeau was thrust into a 
sconce on the wall. Smoky torchlight 
flung unsteady shadows of strange and 
bloody machines against the wall. Eye- 
bolts studded the mossy stone, dangling 
manacles and fetters. In one place was 
an erect scarecrow of a man who still 
clung to pride although his limbs were 
bent and knotted from stretching on the 
rack. 

There was strength and a bravery in 
the pain-scarred face which sickened a 
man with pity. Espadin turned his face 
from his fellow prisoner just as another 
kick crashed against his own chest. He 
coughed with agony. Dario Lozan 
laughed. 

"Art a bravo now. Espadin, he 
mocked. "Soon you'll be neither so 
glib with insult to the favorite nephew 
of His Excellency, Governor of Nom- 
bre. And, when you've had a brace of 
days on the rack, you'll be no more 
than a fair sword match for the old 



18 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



chaser of mantillas whose shoulder you 
pinked today. Ail I'll have my pay- 
ment and my second uncle, Alfredo, will 
have his for his wound ! 

"But most — and I tell you this out of 
kindness — you will pay dearest for your 
boldness. Noble families are few here 
and the Lozan noblest of these. What 
if the swine of the streets and the 
jackals of the swamps believed they 
also could attack us? We must guard 
ourselves against rabble dogs. So you 
shall pay — lest you seem an example to 
follow!" 

Young Lozan wrinkled his nose at 
the stench of the dungeon. He pro- 
duced an elegant snuff-box. Juan 
caught a drift of scent. It was not even 
a good man's nose-dust but some fancy 
perfumed stuff. Lozan drew an affected 
breath of pleasure in his vice. 

"Think of these things, Cordoban," 
he suggested thinly. "We give you a 
little time — to dawn, it may be. And 
you think in good company. Yonder 
is Felipe de Ardenas, who loves street 
beggars better than the honor and the 
gold of the governor's favor. If you 
think I jest, ask him!" 

Dario shut his snuff-box with a snap 
of the lid and went out. The hooded 
devils who had come with him left also, 
taking the flambeau with them. There 
was a deep silence in which Espadin 
felt the throb of his hurts and fed his 
anger with explosive fuel. Then the 
shackled figure across the black room 
spoke defiantly. 

"Wasted!" Felipe de Ardenas said. 
"All wasted. Your masters think that 
if they give me a companion in my 
misery, I'll cry out to him on what 
I've been silent to them. Ha! A 
cunning trick, even for a Lozan. But 
a failure. The only ears to whom I'd 
trust old Nombre's secrets have been 
driven from their city!" 

"Art hasty, Senor," Juan protested. 



"Let me but lay my hands one time 
only on a snuffing Lozan and you shall 
see one man in Nombre of whom they 
are not master!" 

Old Felipe laughed unsteadily. 

"Art but a dog at the heels of the 
new governor," he insisted. "Have done 
with your trial at winning me to you in 
this Satan's dark. Give me peace for 
my suffering and have done!" 

A sob shook the old captain's voice. 
Even in this Juan felt the ring of steel 
which made a strong thing of Pepita's 
slender body and set her above all 
women in his ample memory. The blood 
of De Ardenas ran strongly in father 
and daughter alike. The old man be- 
lieved he was a decoy placed by the 
Lozans. Juan could see no way to gain 
the old soldier's trust. This troubled 
him. There was stubborness in Espadin. 
He had come to this den of deviltry to 
rescue this man. He would not go with- 
out him. The cowardice of false friars, 
the sanguine torture of a colony's petty 
tyrants, the distrust of De Ardenas — be 
damned to them all. An Espadin 
walked no return way empty handed. 
There would be an answer when a man 
hit upon it. 

Thinking thus, Espadin slept, his 
weary body victor over the restlessness 
of his mind. When he wakened it was 
day, a vague change from night in this 
pit where the Lozans used old tools to 
break men who brooked their will. 

JUAN was barely roused when the 
door again opened. Two hooded 
guards appeared with pikes and a flam- 
beau. With them were two more, hooded 
also, but stripped to the waist in earnest 
of coming labors. Felipe de Ardenas 
saw these and cackled. 

"The play is to be perfect, eh?" he 
snarled. "I am to feel pity for this one 
and so not guard my tongue! Fools, 
'tis useless, I tell you! I'll not talk 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



19 



to this dog you've thrown me. Fagh! 
I can tell the hand of the Lozan by the 
stench which goes with it ! " 

A wry humor seized Espadin as his 
fetters were struck free. This father of 
Pepita was a hard man to convince! 
The guards spoke no words. Juan was 
stripped to his clout. Such gear as 
had not earlier been taken from him 
was added to his baldric and rapier 
and the finery he had purchased in Lis- 
bon. The lot was carelessly cast in the 
mouldy dust of one corner. Espadin 
was spread-eagled and lashed on his 
back across the frames of a rack The 
wraiths of Satin who wore no tunics 
put themselves at the capstans which 
forced the frames of the rack apart. 
Wooden screws turned slowly, building 
pressure until they cried in their 
sockets. 

When joints stretched unbearably, 
Juan Espadin denied their pain. He 
fastened his mind on the hills of his 
homeland, the good Malaga in village 
casks, the ancients and the wise of his 
clan who had wed his hand to Cordoban 
steel — and on Pepita. The salt taste of 
blood came in his mouth, for a man's 
teeth must shred flesh when he cannot 
cry out. But his lips remained closed. 

In mid-morning Dario Lozan bent in 
the doorway. 

"He's asked for a priest?" 

"Nay!" one of the bare chested 
giants growled surlily. "Not a groan 
from him yet — and soon his flesh 
tears!" 

"A pity! " Lozan said carelessly. "I 
had hoped the priest would already be 
here — one of our own. What things 
a Cordoban dog with such a sword-arm 
might have to confess! Ah, well, that 
for later, eh? Perhaps a turn or two 
more. But end it there for today. A 
man should have time for the repenting 
of sins!" 

In the afternoon not even Pepita or 



the green hills of Spain could vie with 
agony. Only hatred could meet the 
challenge. But there had to be an end 
to it. There is a limit to all hatreds and 
the trials of all flesh. A haven of dark- 
ness loomed and Espadin plunged 
eagerly into it. 

He roused, aching and sick, to find 
his jailers had been carelessly certain of 
the ruin they had worked. They had 
flung him prone in the ancient filth of 
the floor, scorning the effort of support- 
ing him upright long enough to snap 
his fetters. Juan moved heavy limbs, 
found them free, and felt hope. Felipe 
de Ardenas heard the movement. He 
spoke gently. 

"Not for favor or gold would any 
man endure what I have seen you suffer 
this day! I have mistaken you. But I 
do not know your face — you are not of 
old Nombre — " 

"No — " Juan said hoarsely, " — of 
Cordoba — " 

He spoke slowly, then, bitterly. He 
told the old man of his fortunes ashore 
in this colony of the King. Felipe de 
Ardenas clucked his tongue in wonder- 
ment. 

"And you would have rescued me!" 

"I would still!" Juan growled. 

"For gold? Tis the city's and not 
mine to give freely — " 

"For myself! What is gold beside 
thinking of Lozan's face should he 
discover both of his birds flown?" 

De Ardenas clucked his tongue again. 

"Art headstrong — but a man, Juan 
Espadin! Yet I warn you, find no 
comfort from hope in this place. None 
can survive this black hole!" 

"Hope!" Juan spat. "Do you kill 
an enemy and feed revenge with hope? 
Santissimo! The fools have left me un- 
fettered and my steel is in yonder 
corner. Had I a way to keys for your 
chains we should carve us a swift way 
to freedom or death!" 



20 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Keys?" De Ardenas muttered. 
"Pnes, it is not impossible — " 

TTIE old man spoke swiftly. Juan 
listened, chafing and flexing mis- 
treated limbs. Water was brought by 
custom after sunset. And by two 
guards. One possessed keys. A ready 
sword — a pair of swift strokes — quien 
sabe? The plan was made. Came then 
a time of waiting in which Espadin 
worked and further loosened outraged 
muscles. He paced restlessly, his rapier 
clutched in stiffened fingers. 

The waiting ended with little warn- 
ing. The two guards came briskly. 
Espadin, earnest of no failure, drove his 
weapon too deeply into the body of the 
man with the water crock and so lost his 
grip on its hilt. Startled, the other 
guard thrust out with the flambeau in- 
stead of the short broad-pike in his 
other hand. 

Espadin caught the thrusting arm, 
broke it at the elbow with a twist of 
his body, and seized the flambeau. The 
flaming torch was a terrible weapon. 
The man's head shattered dully. Espa- 
din tore a brace of keys from him be- 
fore the guard began to fall. 

His manacles had cruelly chafed 
Felipe de Ardenas at throat, wrists, and 
ankles. He winced as Juan fumbled 
at the locks. But when the fetters fell 
away he retrieved a guard's broad-pike 
and hobbled for the door. His face was 
a stone mask, set in a smile of terrible 
joy. Juan tore his own sword free and 
joined his companion in the corridor 
outside the dungeon. 

The passage slanted upward, giving 
through an outer door into the court- 
yard above. De Ardenas seized Juan's 
hand when they reached this door. 

"If there is trouble, push for your- 
self, Cordoban." he urged. "If you 
make it free without me, tell Rosalia I 
have counted you friend this night. It 



will carry your suit far with her ! " 

"I ask no man's help with a woman ! " 
Espadin growled. "Beside, a man must 
live before he loves. We started to- 
gether. We finish the same. Por Dios 
y Sus Majestades del Espana!" 

"For God and the rulers of Spain!" 
De Ardenas echoed. And he thrust 
the door open. 

Espadin hoped for luck — dark and 
a sprint to the gate which Paco and 
himself had used. There was a smoky 
flood of torchlight instead and a com- 
pany of guards in close rank under the 
command of Dario Lozan and his amo- 
rous uncle, that Alfredo who wore a 
sling Over a wounded shoulder. Juan un- 
derstood. Leaving him unfettered had 
been but another form of torture. The 
Lozans had known he would try escape. 
They had been waiting like cats at a 
rat hole. 

"I said it, my uncle ! " Dario exulted. 
"The rack was not enough for cavalier 
or soldier either. Leaving the sword 
was a master-stroke. For a fact, if you 
buried a Cordoban's steel with his body, 
he would fight his way above ground 
though his flesh was already rotted 
from his bones ! Will not your brother, 
my other uncle, order this pair quar- 
tered on the public gibbet, now?" 

Alfredo Lozan grimaced. 

"The death order is in my pocket — 
the manner of death my choice. But 
first, let them sing for a quick ending. 
It would please my ears!" 

Espadin had enough of this. He 
lunged forward. De Ardenas charged 
with him. The two Lozans dodged 
back. Dario screamed at the soldiers. 
Guards surged forward. Dario yelped 
again, shaken with fury. 

"Have done! " he ordered. "The game 
no longer amuses. But do not damage 
the heads. They go through the city 
tomorrow atop pikes as warning to the 
reckless!" 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



21 



This was the end. The writing was 
clear. De Ardenas saw it, too. He set 
his back to Juan's back and braced him- 
self to take the first of the guards with 
his broad-pike. Juan flexed his blade 
and made it sing a last song — good 
Spanish steel which loved the blood of 
tyrants. But before rapier met pike 
and broad-pike met lance, a terrible yell 
rang out. 

The ranks of the guardia wavered 
toward the courtyard gate. Through 
that passage, howling like wraiths from 
hell, came men of the swamp. Bound- 
ing at their head, his cassock girdled 
high, was the false friar of Nombre— 
grinning and as wicked as the blade in 
his hand. 

CHAPTER V 

Corridor to Hell 

PSPADIN, for all his joy at relief, 
saw only the brigand. Juan fought 
toward him. Paco threw wide his arms 
as though he did not know Juan was 
more than half a mind to run him 
through. 

"Juanito — comrade of my heart!" he 
roared. "I come in time!" 

"Black rascal!" Juan gritted, " — 
leaving me as a hale man leaves a leper ! 
In time — fagh! — hast overmuch thin 
blood in they veins. Come, up blade 
and I'll let me some!" 

Paco's eyes grew roundly alarmed. 

"No — before God, no!" he protested. 
"Could I help a comrade were I also on 
the rack? Better that one go for help 
than that both be lost. Por Dios, would 
you stick a brother?" 

The alarm was sincere and the hurt 
look so honest that Espadin could hold 
no ill will. He laughed. Paco laughed 
with him. 

"Make it a good fight, amigo," he 
counselled. "Pepita would nor risk our 



company for her father alone. But she 
begged these wild ones to come after 
the pair of you. She gained Father 
Montesanto's agreement or I might not 
have returned at all! Now is the time, 
eh? We are here. We fight and blood 
runs. Why stop? Nombre is a rich 
enough prize for us all!" 

With the ragged bulk of the robed 
brigand at his side, Juan Espadin 
turned eagerly back into the fight. So 
it was Pepita who had fanned the fury 
of these madmen — Pepita, whose heart 
was dead! He grinned widely. 

The disciplined guardia might have 
stood solidly. But discipline is no wea- 
pon against the anger of an outraged 
people. They wedged the soldiery out 
through the gate into a square before 
the cathedral. The doors of long-shut- 
tered houses burst open to spew forth 
more mild men turned savage with 
hope. 

With pot-hooks and fire-tongs they 
fell on the rear ranks of the guards. 
Here was raw justice. Espadin savored 
this battle as he had none other. The 
little ones — the meek and the gentle and 
the long-suffering, risen now against 
their enemies! Juan forgot he was with- 
out means and that his sword must win 
him fortune. It was enough now that 
it drew blood. 

News of the fighting spread. More 
men poured into the city from the 
swamp. Among them were Pepita and 
Father Montesanto. They joined with 
old Felipe on the steps of the cathedral. 
The holy man Juan had shunned in the 
swamp as a man too goodly for earthly 
life, spoke to the crowd. From the 
gentle lips of the old father poured a 
fighting man's prayer- — a plea ringing 
with simple faith that the good God was 
with Nombre and that His hand guided 
whatever weapon struck at a Lozan. 

Juan had believed that Paco and him- 
self gave heart to the men of the city. 



22 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



But this was as nothing to the exhorta- 
tions of Father Montesanto. In truth. 
Nombre loved its bishop and his God. 
They turned wilder still, those fighting 
fools. The guards fell back, trembling 
at collapse. Suddenly a fierce mounted 
company poured without warning from 
a side street. Two men rode at its 
head. One was Vicente Lozan, who 
had succeeded De Ardenas as captain 
of the guards. The other was a fat 
in an so pompous that he could be only 
His Excellency, Reinaldo Lozan, Gov- 
ernor of Nombre. 

HPHE wild ones bunched against this 
attack. Felipe de Ardenas plunged 
among the city men, striving with a 
soldier's skill to organize their forces. 
Riders were dragged from saddle, dis- 
membered before they touched paving. 
But the charge was too savage for 
clumsy weapons to turn. It was done 
in a moment. Father Montesanto and 
the girl beside him on the steps were 
seized, flung across horses, and the 
troop wheeled. A brief skirmish and 
they were free with their prisoners. 
Dario Lozan, among the foot guards, 
ilung an ultimatum. 

The two were hostages to the end of 
fighting. All arms must be down by 
dawn, the crowds dispersed without 
further violence. Certain leaders — Fe- 
lipe de Ardenas, a Cordoban vagabond 
called Espadin, and the notable brigand 
Paco — were to have surrendered at the 
palace by the coming of light. Failing 
this, the good father would be hanged 
in front of his people and the Ardenas 
wench impressed into the household of 
Alfredo Lozan, who had spoken for 
her — 

A grapeshot volley from English guns 
could not have more swiftly cooled the 
ardor of the men of Nombre. They 
broke, permitting the guards to fall 
back across the square to the facade of 



the governor's palace. The bubble of 
a great hope was near to collapse. Old 
Ardenas fought to save it, climbing 
again the steps of the cathedral. 

"I am one who will not surrender!" 
he roared. "The girl is my own blood. 
The bishop is my friend. But Nombre 
is my city. Forward, circle the palace! 
They'll not dare to harm either hostage 
if there is no escape for them after- 
ward!" 

Juan saw the old man's face. It was 
a brave gesture. But it was not enough. 
Nombre's warriors did press on sul- 
lenly toward the palace. But it was 
plain they would fight no more. 

"That you knew a serving-wench in 
that place!" Espadin breathed to Paco. 

The brigand's small eyes lighted eag- 
erly. 

"A rear door, eh?" he guessed 
shrewdly. "No wench and no door. 
But I do know a passage. A risk, Juan- 
ito — and no gold at the end of it!" 

''Pepita is there!" Juan snapped. "Is 
that not enough?" 

Paco laughed as though a last barrier 
was gone. 

"I would have spoiled the bargain she 
made with you, Juanito." he said. "But 
not now! Pues, we have been asked 
to surrender. We go, then, to the gov- 
ernor to do this, eh?" 

Paco slid into a dark and narrow al- 
leyway. He found a ledge in the dark- 
ness, travelled it many yards to a but- 
tress by which he climbed to a higher 
level. There was another ledge, then 
a tile drain all too insecurely fastened 
to the towering wall. From this they 
reached a third foothold on which a 
feeling of great height and hard stone 
far below seized Espadin. Suddenly 
Paco vanished from in front of him. A 
moment later he found a casement open 
and crawled through, also. A room 
took vague shape. Dull metal gleamed 
from shelving, juan understood Paco's 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



23 



knowledge of this entry to the palace. 
In a few moments a man without prin- 
ciple might load a sack with enough 
silver to provide a month's good living 
from the cannisters and state goblets 
stored here. 

Paco pulled open a door, stepped 
cautiously into a long hall. Juan fol- 
lowed him. The far end opened into a 
stairwell from which short corridors led 
to a number of apartments on what 
must be the front of the third floor of 
the palace. A heavy, gated grill closed 
the head of the stairs. Four guards 
stood on duty at the gate. Paco nudged 
Espadin, pointing to the belt of one of 
these. Keys hung there. The meaning 
was clear. These guards could not be 
attacked without alarm. Yet should 
that gate be closed and locked, this 
floor would be cut off from the rest of 
the house — and reenforcements. So 
well protected, this floor could be none 
other than the haven of the Lozans. 
Juan nodded at his companion and 
freed his steel. 

As they had done before, Espadin 
and Paco moved as one. There was a 
clash of steel, a curse, and one cry be- 
cause Paco was clumsy — and painful — 
with his first thrust. Before his own sec- 
ond victim struck the floor, Espadin 
slammed the gate closed. Alarm rang 
on the floor below. Guards thundered 
up the stairs. Paco's stubby fingers 
fumbled with the keys. The tumbler 
turned but an instant before the first 
of the guards rammed his shoulder 
against the barred portal. Paco spat in 
the man's face, laughed, and twitched 
in his robe as though the rough cloth 
was again chafing him. The brigand 
then leaped into the dividing corridors 
and tried three doors in swift succes- 
sion. Only the fourth was locked — and 
from the inside. 

With the palace ringing alarm be- 
hind him and soldiers w T ildly trying to 



throw weapons between the steel bars 
of the gate, Espadin foiled his comrade 
and bent before this door. Thrusting 
his thin Cordoban blade into the case- 
ment joint, he found the bolt with its 
point and shot it back. The door 
swung wide. 

CHAPTER VI 
Not for King or Gold 

"PSPADIN had hoped for triumph — a 
moment of facing four craven dogs 
who trembled in their slippers and 
showed the pimples of cold fear through 
the thin silk of their long and costly 
hose. A man looks no better to a 
woman than when vengeance puts ene- 
mies in his hands. But the Lozans 
were desperate and a coward's cunning 
is a terrible thing. 

Alfredo, still hampered by his pinked 
shoulder and always stupid, sat as he 
must when alarm first sounded in the 
hall. Reinaldo, his fat no longer lend- 
ing dignity, clutched a bodkin of a 
dress sword in the center of the room. 
But it was Vicente and the merciless 
Dario who held the prisoners. They 
stood beyond the open windows of the 
room on a balcony, beyond the railing 
of which the square was far below. Paco 
would have leaped at them. Espadin 
stayed him with a quick hand. Dario 
smiled thinly. 

"Art wise, Cordoban!" he mocked. 
"But to stand is not enough. Your 
comrade has keys which belong to His 
Excellency. Hand them over!" 

Paco looked helplessly at Espadin. 
It was a hard thing, but Juan nodded. 
There could be no doubt. Dario and 
Vicente would not hesitate to fling the 
girl and the old man into space. Paco's 
hand moved jerkily. Sweating, Rein- 
aldo Lozan took the keys and waddled 
into the corridor toward the stair-well 



24 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



and the gate. Dario's smile grew wider. 

He moved a little and a stirring mur- 
mur rose from beyond the balcony, 
proof that the sullen crowd in the 
square could see what happened high 
above them and so was watching. Dario 
scowled and his lips tightened. 

"A hostage is useless when a trap is 
sprung." he said softly. "Nombre has 
not learned her lessons well. She needs 
stronger medicine than any we have 
given her. Put the old man over first, 
Vicente!" 

The hand of God could not have 
stayed Paco then. He lunged forward 
like an animal. Even so, Espadin was 
onto the balcony ahead of him. There 
was but a moment. Father Montesanto. 
who had stood with bowed head, sud- 
denly straightened and thrust a feeble 
hand bravely into Vicente Lozan's face. 
That gesture of defense saved the 
bishop of Nombre a terrible death. It 
stayed Vicente just long enough for 
Paco to reach him. Juan heard Vi- 
cente's breath choke off in a sob as 
stout fingers tore deep into his throat. 

Rosalia de Ardenas was already 
swung from her feet when Espadin's 
crashing weight shook her from Dario's 
grip. Juan knew only that she fell — 
and within the railing. Nothing more. 
At too close grips to use his long blade, 
Espadin was put to it to fend off a 
poniard in Dario's grasp. And he was 
but scantly successful. Razor steel 
split his doublet from shoulder to thigh 
and a thin line of welling red was traced 
down the bunching muscle exposed un- 
der the rent cloth. 

Juan had no choice. Before that 
needle of death could strike again, he 
had to be free of his enemy. Dropping 
his rapier, he reached with both hands 
and found purchase. Weight came on 
his arms, his shoulders, his back. A 
weight which rose squirming high in 
the air and went hurtling out from him. 



A high, thin wail sounded. There 
was an uglier sound from the pavement 
far below. And a sudden, exultant 
roaring as those at hand recognized the 
crushed body which had plummeted 
down among them. The square, which 
had been nearly silent, rang again with 
men moving toward final battle. Father 
Montesanto peered over the railing of 
the balcony with a strange look on his 
face. Paco yet thrashed purposefully 
on the floor with Vicente Lozan. Es- 
padin thought of the fat governor and 
the keys with which he was unlocking 
a gate to send a flood of guards into this 
room. He wheeled— and stood stunned. 

His rapier was not where he had 
dropped it. Its hilt projected at a crazy 
side angle from the trunk of Alfredo 
Lozan. The man held a weapon of his 
own in his hand and stared down at the 
weapon which skewered him. To one 
side, ever so little to one side and close 
to the Lozan, Rosalia de Ardenas stood 
white-faced. But she did not look at 
Alfredo. Her eyes were on Juan Es- 
padin and the great fear she had felt for 
him was not yet gone from them. Be- 
yond believing, Juan understood. Al- 
fredo had come at his back. And Pe- 
pita had come between him and death ! 

A LFREDO took a tottering step and 
fell. Juan caught his blade as the 
man went down. A single stride carried 
him to the hall door to face a tall 
guardsman, plunging in. A parry and 
riposte, then Juan stepped aside. The 
guard fell inward and Juan dodged back 
to face another. The doorway was deep 
and of a right size for a swordsman to 
work one foeman at a time. The guards, 
shaken and uncertain, did not think of 
bringing up a long-shafted pike. 

Another fell. And another. Blood 
made the planking treacherous. The 
fallen bodies hampered Espadin, who 
fought much with his feet. Then a hand 



THE CASSOCK AND THE SWORD 



25 



reached past him, a hand with broad 
fingers, and hauled one carcass away. 
It came back for another. 

Each time there came, after a little, 
an approving roar from the square be- 
low. Espadin puzzled at this. But he 
lacked time to think. 

Suddenly it was over. Tumult within 
the palace reached the stairs and 
climbed to the topmost floor. Familiar 
faces from the swamp appeared behind 
the guardia in the hall. Swords clat- 
tered to the floor in surrender. Juan 
turned back into the room, then. No 
single body of the slain remained. Paco 
grinned, dusting his hands with pleas- 
ure. The collapse of the guards was 
understandable, then. How could men 
fight under a rain of their own dead 
from above? 

"Juanito, my pigeon!" the swamp- 
friar of Nombre exulted, " — what we 
have done! Come, now, swiftly. I 
once had connections in this house. 
Reinaldo is still on this floor and he has 
keys. I will know if the fat fool lies — 
but he will not! The treasure of the 
Lozans for those who fought for it!" 

Juan shook his head. 

"For me only a small purse contain- 
ing the value of five hundred cunas de 
oro in exchange for one of like size and 
weight I lost to Dario's shipboard 
cheating. The treasure of the Lozans 
for those who fought for it — ail — that 
is just. Reinaldo and his keys are best 
for Father Montesanto — for the poor 
of Nombre!" 

Paco showed liquid disappointment. 

"No fortune? Then glory, Juanito! 
Quick, onto the balcony. Tajk to the 
wild ones below. They have loved your 
good blade and we have need for a new 
governor!" 

Juan shook his head again. 

"Por Dios, must you make me over, 
Paco?" he protested. "Am I a gray- 
beard to rule a city? Put Felipe de 



Ardenas on this balcony and let Nom- 
bre make its choice!" 

Paco was near to tears. 

"Art the friend of my heart, Juan- 
ito! " he urged. "For the love of heaven, 
take some office where I may share the 
glory! Have been a holy man long 
enough. I must be rid of this irking 
robe or I die. Speak to the guardia. 
Many are loyal to Nombre. A sword 
makes at least a good captain!" 

Juan grinned. 

"That much is true. Father Monte- 
santo is my witness that your sword is 
not the sword of God. But what bet- 
ter wisdom than to make a brigand 
chief of civil guards?" 

Scandalized hurt leaped into Paco's 
eyes. 

"Juanito!" he cried. "Have betrayed 
my secret— the father heard." 

Father Montesanto turned to Paco, 
dropping a comradely hand to his shoul- 
der. 

"I have long thought you a most un- 
usual friar, Brother Paco," he said 
gently, "but even God may use strange 
tools. Go to your policia, take their 
command. And serve Nombre as well 
as you have served me! " 

A HUGE relief broadened Paco's fea- 
tures. He mumbled thanks to the 
bishop of Nombre. He grinned at Es- 
padin. And he rushed into the hall. 
Father Montesanto followed after him. 
Presently Juan heard the father's voice, 
suggesting that Felipe de Ardenas 
might make a fit governor. The men of 
Nombre answered with loud acclaim. 
With their bishop, they moved down the 
stairs in search of the proud old sol- 
dier who had loved Nombre more than 
life, carrying their vote and their confi- 
dence with them. The upper hall was 
emptied when a group of loyal guards 
turned also down the stairs, prodding 
Reinaldo Lozan along prisoner in their 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



midst. 

Thus order came simply to a city in 
just revolt. Espadin was alone in a 
room with a woman he once would have 
taken at a bargain and now could not. 
The change was a softness in him and 
he marvelled at it. Rosalia de Ardenas 
crossed the room to him and he saw her 
again as Pepita of the swamp — a girl 
without family whom he would have 
courted in the shadows of Father 
Montesanto's chapel. 

"Art a strange man, Juan Espadin," 
she said slowly. "There is a hunger in 
you, for I have seen it. Yet you have 
turned down both bread and wine — 
glory and reward. You want something 
more than these?" 

"Perhaps," Espadin agreed with 
tight restraint. "I want to sail a ship 
across to Spain. I want to take the fat 
pig we destroyed today to face the King 
who sent him to us. I want to tell the 
King what Nombre chose in place of a 
Lozan. It is time even Kings learn that 
here is a new land where little men are 



stronger than the mighty — where peo- 
ple will desert a wicked city for a 
swamp where there is freedom and 
honor for their God!" 

"No more than this — you want no 
more?" 

Espadin had kept his eyes averted 
and his thoughts on Nombre. He had 
been a strong man in the thin light of 
this dawn, refusing this woman lest only 
her bargain had brought her to him. 
But his eyes met her eyes, now. And 
she was still the girl of the swamp — but 
with a living heart. Pues, strength 
could rob a man of much ! 

The girl's shoulder stung the knife- 
mark on his chest and the blood of an 
Espadin stained her jacket. But what 
of this? 

"I will tell the King here also is a 
land where the women are witches! " he 
murmured huskily above her lips. 

"And I — I will stand behind you, 
Juanito, and smile in the King's face. 
He will think you a great liar!" 
The End 



FLOATING HELL 

By 

HENRIETTA BROWNE 

The ghastly story of the floating "devil's islands" 
that were the prison ships of the 18th Century 



BURIED deep in the pages of the not-too- 
ancient history of supposedly civilized peo- 
ples can be found this very vivid descrip- 
tive passage : 

"Dr. Ullathorne visited the ship to prepare 
tome of the condemned men for the death that 
awaited them. He went into the crowded cell to 
announce his mission and read the names of those 
who were finally adjudged to die. One by one 
the condemned men fell upon their knees as their 
names were read out for death and deliberately 
and calmly thanked God that the gallows was 
about to deliver them from that horrible and 
unspeakable place." 



Inspiring a dread so great that men could 
prefer death to life, the British prison ships in 
use during the nineteenth century were a blot 
on the history of mankind. Indirectly the Ameri- 
can Revolutionary War was to blame for their 
existence. 

In the late 18th century there were J 50 crime* 
listed in England which were punishable by hang- 
ing. Women and children were hanged for shop- 
lifting a loaf of bread. The British began to find 
out that hanging for petty theft was a serious 
mistake. They then resorted to transporting 
criminals out of the country. For a time the 
British Treasury benefited from the scheme. 



FLOATING HELL 



27 



Criminals were sent to the shores of America 
where they were sold as slaves to the planters, 
and $250,000 was added to the government cof- 
fers annually. But after the American colonies 
waged their successful revolution, that market was 
closed and the British were forced to look else- 
where to dispose of their undesirable countrymen. 
The Penal Settlements of New South Wales were 
founded, and the floating torture chambers were 
brought into being. 

The work of carrying convicts from England 
to the settlement was turned over to contractors. 
They carried on that duty under their govern- 
ment's military protection, and they received six 
cents per day for each convict's food allowance 
besides a tonnage rate. The stories told of the 
wolfish greed of those contractors and the mur- 
derous abuse of their task is borne out by recorded 
fact. The longer the voyage lasted, the more 
money the contractor was able to demand. And 
if the convicts happened to die, he could pocket 
the money for their maintenance. Thus a business- 
like understanding was established under which 
the human cargoes died off like rotten sheep. A 
report written by Dr. White, the Colonial surgeon, 
states that over two-thirds of the convicts were 
either dead or dying upon arrival. Many never 
arrived at their destination; they had been over- 
tortured and thrown into the sea. 

The typical prison ship, when used as a trans- 
port, carried all the prisoners in two huge cham- 
bers. Hundreds of men, women, and children were 
chained to one another and to the sides of the 
hold where they remained for the entire voyage. 
With hardly any light, very little air, almost no 
food, and no provisiom for sanitation, it is no 
wonder that most of them arrived at their desti- 
nation in a dead or dying condition. According 
to the records, at least one hundred and sixty-five 
thousand convicts were transported from English 
ports in this manner while the system lasted. 

Many of the ships were used later as stationary 
prisons. The "Success," one of the most notorious 
of the floating prisons, stood several miles off the 
coast of Australia. In order to completely isolate 
the "Success" and prevent the escape of any 
prisoners, a cordon of buoys was moored around 
the yellow-painted hulk at a distance of seventy- 
five yards. Any person entering the circle without 
the proper password and identification was liable 
to be shot on sight. 

Rows of cells were constructed below decks. 
They looked more like cages for wild beasts than 
a prison house for men. The massive iron-bound 
doors were fastened with huge iron hasps and 
heavy draw-bolts. The "Black Holes," in which 
special punishment was meted out to obstinate 
prisoners, were properly named. These stood in 
the corners of the lower deck and can best be 
described as small and tapering torture chambers. 
They measured only two feet eight inches across. 
The doors fitted as tightly as valves, excluding all 
Air, except what could filter through the per- 



forated iron plate that was placed over the bars 
above the door in order to make the hole as dark 
and oppressive as possible. A stout iron ring was 
placed about knee-high in the shelving back of 
the cell, and through this ring the right wrist of 
the prisoner was passed and then handcuffed to 
the left hand. In this position he could not stand 
up straight or lie down, but had to stoop or lean 
against the shelving side of the vessel as it rolled 
with the motion of the sea. 1 In every cell on the 
ship the floor was worn into hollows, ruts, and 
grooves next to each doorway, by the constant 
jangling and friction of the prisoner's leg-irons 
as they stamped impatiently, waiting for the 
stroke of the bell that marked the times for meals 
or exercise. 

Although there is not a single case of a success- 
ful escape on record, riots were of frequent oc- 
currence on the "Success." Flogging was the most 
common means of punishment resorted to. As 
many as one thousand lashes were ordered and 
administered. A "doctor" was always on hand 
to time and direct the blows so that a glimmer 
of life might still remain. 

In addition to the numerous other horrible 
punishments practiced upon the "Success" and 
other prison ships was the "compulsory bath." 
Ten prisoners were scrubbed at once in the large 
trough provided for that purpose. Three "well- 
behaved" prisoners scrubbed with the aid of long- 
handled brushes and the salt water which was 
made to spray over the bodies of the men. There 
are ugly tales related of prisoners being brought 
straight from the flogging frame, with their backs 
torn and bleeding from the cruel lashes of the 
"cat o' nine tails," so that their wounds could 
be cleansed by the steady flow of salt water used, 
in order it was said, to prevent "inflammation." 

The prison ship is now regarded as a thing of 
the past. The ill-treatment broke the health and 
spirit of would-be good citizens. There was no 
chance of reclaiming a man once the torture 
chambers of the prison ships were brought into 
play. Men became beasts; their hearts were 
filled with hate for the society which had banished 
them from all living things. Their sufferings led 
them to dwell upon the idea of the only means 
of escape — death. It is no wonder that Dr. Ul- 
lathorne was confronted with a group of de- 
liriously happy men, men who had just been 
informed that they were on the way to achieving 
a peaceful end to all their torment — on the gallows. 

The year 1870 was the last in which these 
floating prisons were used. Public indignation 
rose to such an alarming height that they had to 
be abandoned. These "floating hells" had served 
their purpose if only to prove that medieval 
physical torture methods had no place in a modern 
penal institution. In the modem prison the em- 
phasis is placed on reform. Illiterates are taught 
to read and write, petty thieves learn useful trades, 
and many men are given a new lease on life. 
• * * 



The Inea plunged the maquahuitl 
down in a surprisingly savaga blow 



THE 
TUNCA 
PUNCU 
NUGGET 



bu nCicnard -3. .3 li 




iciver 



It would be quite a trick 
to kill the Inca, but it could 
be done ... if he fell for the 
old gag about lost treasure! 



AS THE sun rose above the peaks 
ZA of Sallac and Piquicho, be- 
■*■ ■*■ tween which lies the castle of 
Sacsayhuaman, little Alana — relative 
and servant of Mama Anac the Empress 
— ran to the great round window and 
held up to the bright, new face of the 
sun a little carved box of rubra wood. 

Far below, in Cuzco, fifty thousand 
people watched the sunrise. For this 
was Capak-Raymi, when the Sun-Lord, 
Inti. reached nearest to the land and 
told the people of the New Year. 

About the mighty city of Cuzco, in 
the wall openings, four thousand sen- 
tries stood at attention and held their 
brightly painted shields and long lances 
very straight, the colored pennons whip- 
ping; and listened attentively to the 
music of a three hundred and seventy- 
five piece orchestra. Flutes, little or- 
gans, guitars, cornets, trumpets and 
drums, and instruments without names. 

When the Inca raised his finger to 
the height of his mouth, every one of 
the fifty thousand uttered a cry of joy. 
For this was the beginning of a five-day 
holiday, including free chicha for ev- 
eryone. The chicha was already stand- 
ing in great ollas on every street corner, 
and had been tentatively sampled by 
not a few. 

Then all were silent as the ceremony 
went forward — watching the brilliant 
figure of the Inca, his solemn face 
topped by the llauto, a diadem bearing 
two tall red plumes of the pillco-pichui 
bird and two white eagle feathers. 
About his neck was the royal collar of 
fifty-two emeralds the size of pigeon 
eggs, from each of which hung great 
topazes each carved to represent the 
sun and moon and the fifty-two phases 
of the moon. His robe was the finest the 
looms of Cuzco produced, and was bor- 
dered with gold embroidery. In his 
hand was the Champi, a big gold mace, 
elegantly formed and beautifully bal- 



29 



30 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



anced — which included an axe blade 
in the round hammer head. 

He looked very fine, thought Alana, 
looking down from her window in Sac- 
sayhuaman, and so did everyone today. 
But Alana had more to do than watch 
silly ceremonies ! Little Alana had just 
pilfered a most curious object from the 
baskets of gifts sent the Inca from 
every neighboring ruler, from every 
vassal Prince — from everyone who 
could afford a gift rich enough to in- 
terest the Inca. 

So it was that Alana was not present 
at the ceremony, but stood looking out 
the round window into the eyes of the 
new sun through a little gem in the top 
of the box of carved rubra wood, with 
the bird called Ramantzan beautifully 
flinging its plumes about the red wood 
of the box. 

Alana was young and darkly lovely, 
and the thing she had stolen was very 
beautiful. The room she had chosen 
for privacy to examine her prize was 
wood-paneled of virumna wood, and the 
panels fastened with gold nails. The 
great round window silhouetting her 
dark, serious head pierced two feet of 
solid stone wall to reach the outer air 
and light. 

Into the room behind her strode the 
tall, strong figure of — was it an Inca? 
No, this was a priest's regalia, and from 
the objects in the room, this was his own 
retreat which Alana had appropriated. 

"LJE MUST have come direct from 
the ceremony of welcoming Inti, 
the sun, again to earth for a year. He 
was still wearing the condor head-dress, 
with long golden sun rays terminating 
in the sculptured metal heads of jag- 
uars. In his hand was the tall staff 
with the golden condor head. He flung 
off the rainbow sheen of the feathered 
ceremonial cloak. He bent over the girl, 
for she had hardly looked up. His cop- 



per skin was taut over smooth-sliding, 
powerful muscles on his bared limbs. 
The sun disc on his chest glittered with 
gems. 

"Why do you sit here mooning, little 
flower of love? Why were you not in 
the procession? People will talk, you 
know!" 

Her soft eyes looked up at his, still 
dreaming and hardly aware of his 
words, though his presence sent a thrill 
through her, compounded of love and 
a sense of peril and a kind of happy 
vertigo — like leaning over mysterious 
deeps filled with glorious tinted mists, 
far down. 

"It is a magical little trinket sent as 
a gift to the Inca from that ugly sor- 
cerer, the Masked Ruler of the Manabi. 
It contains some kind of crypt I have 
been trying to puzzle out. See, it is of 
rubra wood, tiny and carved beautifully 
as only the Manabi can carve. I open 
it thus, and upon the soft down is a 
tiny golden bead, and that is all!" 

"What is so cryptic about that? Is 
gold so rare among the wood folk that 
they can spare no more for a gift than 
that?" His deep voice was not greatly 
pleasing, but harsh, from long chanting 
of the ceremonial words, from long 
barking of orders drilling on the mili- 
tary plain. 

"Then you close the box, and put 
your eye to the little gem in the center 
of the carving. You hold it up to the 
light. . . . Here put it, so. What do 
you see?" 

The Priest stared through the gem 
into the sunlight from the round open- 
ing that was the window. Then grave- 
ly: "Little one, this was never meant to 
fall into our hands. It was sent here 
with our Inca's gifts to get it past the 
border inspection unnoticed. It is a 
map — and a message; a message to 
some profound enemies of ours!" 

"I knew it was a crypt, but I couldn't 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



31 



make it nut. What is the map for?" 

"Is is for the ancient treasure of the 
Bearded Ones. You know our race was 
visited by the mysterious bearded men, 
an age ago. They brought with them 
man}- magical instruments and formu- 
las which were left behind in a hiding 
place long forgotten, or kept a secret to 
a very few. Those magical devices have 
been long sought by our wise men, and 
also by those among us who long for 
power to which they have no inherited 
right." 

'"Would the treasure give them such 
power?" 

"Yes. little one, for the bearded ones 
were members of a race that knew much 
more than we of the powers of earth 
and sky and the Gods' ways. There 
are supposed to be weapons in this 
cache which kill mysteriously at a 
distance: formulas of medicines that 
make men young: jewels of magical 
value through which one can see — when 
one looks as you are looking at the 
small and invisible — even living ani- 
mals which can be seen in no other way. 
It is a vast and valuable treasure — and 
it has been long sought." 

A LAXA'S black eyes shone with ex- 
citement, and her breath panted 
sharply as she looked at the scenes of 
the micro-engraving. "And we have it, 
the place of the Magic of the Bearded 
Ones!" 

"Yes, the Masked One who rules the 
dark forests of the Manabi pmbably 
thinks to steal away a treasure right- 
fully ours. Only luck brings it into our 
hands. How did vou come by it, truth- 
fully, Alana?" 

"The gifts wait in their baskets for 
the hour of the audience. I stole in 
when no one was looking and looked 
through the things. This little box so 
beautifully made caught my eye. I 
held it up to the light to catch the sun 



on the gems -and behold, the gem is a 
window into the world of the small — 
a world the skilled hands of the Manabi 
craftsmen alone can enter!" 

"Come, little love — we will go and 
look at the other baskets; maybe we 
can catch the one who was meant to 
steal this box instead of you." 

A rude and sudden voice broke in 
upon the conversation of Alana, sweet 
young sister to Mama-Anac, the Em- 
press, talking with Huaycar Wira, chief 
aide to the High Priest of Facha-Ka- 
mac, the Creator of the Universe. 

The voice, in that room walled with 
the dignity and reserve of centuries of 
polite usage — that room for royalty or 
the relatives of royalty only; a room 
where no voice was raised in anger upon 
pain of imprisonment; a room where 
the wall carvings were set with rare and 
huge gems, and where the very foot 
stools were of gold . . . into that room 
came this voice, saying: "Spawn of 
Supay.* accursed of Inti, you think to 
have tricked me, Tumi Hayta. out of 
the secret of the Bearded God's power! 
I paid many strong slaves to learn of 
the whereabouts of that little key to 
the lost secrets. I will not lose it so 
easily I " 

Alana sprang to her feet, her mouth 
a wide O of astonishment. For, through 
the door stepped Tumi Hayta. the In- 
ca's brother-in-law! Two of the tall 
Lucanas of the Inca's bodyguard 
flanked him. carrying short, wide- 
bladed stabbing spears. In Tumi's big 
capable hand was a bronze axe of war, 
a famous "Champi" of the Inca's fam- 
ily. Facing these three conspirators, 
so suddenly coming upon him, Huaycar 
had but his dignity, his condor-headed 
priest's staff, and a tiny decorative dag- 
ger as weapons. 



* Supay : the devil, Lord of Haek-Pachac 
(Hell).— Ed. 



32 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



But Huaycar had his wits, and he 
stepped to Alana's side, standing be- 
tween her and the spears of the grim- 
faced Lucanas, and picked up the little 
box of rubra wood, saying — "Ah, this 
little plan of yours should come to the 
ears of Tupac Yupanqui Inca. He, too, 
might be interested in the treasure his 
father sought for so long; in the map 
sent him so kindly by the Masked One 
of the Manabi." 

The blood darkened Tumi's face 
with rage, he raised the heavy mace, but 
Huaycar went calmly on. "And how 
would you explain my death, Kayta? 
You would then have to kill little Alana 
to keep her quiet; and then your two 
bribed guardsmen to keep them quiet; 
and then you would have to kill the 
assassin you hired to kill these two! 
Since the Inca, my cousin is known to 
be more generous than yourself, you 
can trust no one! Quite a problem!" 

The grim faces of the two fierce Lu- 
canas, men sent from the North by their 
ruler to do honorary duty to the Inca — 
became thoughtful at these words, and 
they exchanged glances which were not 
missed by Tumi Hayta, for he looked 
to see if this thrust of Huaycar's clever 
tongue was understood by them — who 
were not expert in the subtler nuances 
of the Quichua tongue, themselves 
speaking Chimu. They understood well 
enough, for it was plain that if Tumi 
chose to kill these relatives of his to 
silence them, he would also have to si- 
lence themselves. 

TLTAYTA lowered the heavy bronze 
mace, and a bewildered expression 
came over him. He muttered — "How 
in Supay's unspeakable name can I be 
so stupid?" 

Huaycar laughed mockingly. "That 
is a question anyone can answer but 
yourself, my dear cousin-in-law. It 
were best that you go now, while you 



can, for I hear footsteps, and if my In- 
can ears * are true, they are the foot- 
steps of Mama-Anac Huarca, who is 
your sister and our Empress. She might 
misunderstand your presence here with 
our dear little Alana — especially if we 
are forced to speak of our mutual 'se- 
cret.' You and I will confer of this an- 
other time. Preferably when I, too, am 
armed." 

Tumi Hayta had a problem before 
him too complicated for his dull mind. 
He backed through the doorway a pic- 
ture of bafflement. As he disappeared, 
through the opposite doorway hurried 
Mama-Anac Huarca, Empress of twelve 
hundred thousand square miles of land 
and some twenty million people. But 
Mama-Anac was not thinking of the 
land or of the people; she was hunting 
little Alana. 

"Oh you young scamp, it is past time 
for audience, and my hair isn't dressed 
yet and you always do it so much bet- 
ter — now come along. And you, Huay- 
car, you are worse than this little trifler; 
why aren't you down entertaining?" 

"Mama-Anac Huarca, my beloved 
cousin, the guests are quite as aware as 
myself that you are invariably at least 
an hour late to the audience. There is 
no one present yet but the cleaning 
women. Must I help them dust the car- 
pet for your lovely feet?" 

"Oh! You are insufferable, and what's 
more, not even polite! But I love you, 
you handsome rogue, as much as do the 
virgins of the Sun, who should have 
their minds on more worthwhile things 
than your own gorgeous self. If any 
more of our virgins become with child, 

* Incan ears : The Indian races of South Amer- 
ica are famous for an incomprehensible method of 
hearing, akin to telepathy, by which they know 
events that transpire even up to hundreds of miles 
distance; can count the number of horses ap- 
proaching in pitch darkness at many miles dis- 
tance; can follow a cold, spoorless trail for weeks 
... Dr. Juan Durand — A Hyatt Verrill. 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



33 



the Inca will have to take some action! 
Must all the children look like you? 
Couldn't you let some other man do a 
little sinning? You should be ashamed 
of yourself! How can you face people?" 

As aide to the aged High Priest of 
Pacha-Kamac, he in a way was the 
earthly representative of the Sun-God, 
Inti being the Son of Pacha-Kamac, 
himself in ceremonial represented the 
Inti, and officially he was the only man 
with whom the Virgins of the Sun were 
allowed contact — their shepherd, as it 
were. In this position he came in for a 
great deal of "kidding", and if any of 
the Virgins backslid, he was always 
blamed for the resulting child; for all 
Sun Virgins are officially supposed to 
be in love only with the Son of God, 
and himself was his earthly vehicle. 

Huaycar laughed off her sally, as he 
laughed off the usual jibes on this count, 
saying: "Well, if you love me, give me 
a cousinly kiss, and I will be off to tend 
to the preparations — the gift-bearing 
Ambassadors of the Masked One come 
from the Manabi and many another 
spying guest from afar, and things real- 
ly should look as if we knew how to keep 
house, at least." 



guard rang and rang again as he pulled 
the rope repeatedly. 

Within seconds the chamber filled 
with the brown, scarred limbs, fierce 
faces, and the glittering obsidian wea- 
pons of the veterans who made up the 
palace guard. 

Huaycar turned to the Empress. 
"Mama-Anac, this little box contains a 
treasure vastly greater than its size 
would indicate. Alana and I were just 
threatened by your brother. I will tell 
you all about the treasure during audi- 
ence this morning. 

"You can tell me while Alana dresses 
my hair, in my own rooms, in comfort 
— and not in forced whispers while 
everyone tries to get my attention — 
while I must watch every move of the 
foreigners so that none of them are 
slighted unintentionally. You come 
right along, you large, lovely man, and 
earn your keep by being pleasant to 
your Empress." 

It was nearly an hour later that the 
three — Alana, the little ward of Mama- 
Anac; the Empress; and Huaycar, her 
cousin and a priest as well as a famous 
warrior of the Nobles — left Mama- 
Anac's chambers for the audience hall. 



A LANA started up from her chair by 
the window, where she had sunk in 
relief at the departure of Tumi Hayta's 
dark and angry face, her hand going 
again to her throat in alarm. "But, 
Huaycar, what of the bead? Some- 
thing will happen. What will I do with 
it?" 

"That little golden bead from Man- 
abi, eh? I had not forgotten you, little 
thief — I had only wanted not to alarm 
the Empress. But perhaps you are 
right; we should not delay in seeing it 
well guarded. Its proper use will re- 
quire much thought." Huaycar reached 
for the great woven bell rope, and far 
off the mellow chime summoning the 



A/fAMA-ANAC, regally attired in the 
long plumes of the pilco-pilcui, red 
and brilliant streams of glistening beau- 
ty nodding from her head, a robe of fine 
cloth embroidered with gold fitting her 
full - blown womanly curves tightly, 
swept on ahead, with Huaycar and 
Alana just behind. She spoke over her 
shoulder, fretful as ever at the restric- 
tions of her rank which made the two 
young people she loved walk behind her. 
"That brother of mine gets too big 
for his boots. Now he has threatened 
you over some treasure ! What can it be 
that leads him to such extremes? When 
the Inca hears of it he will send him to 
the prison at Macchu Picchu, and I for 



34 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



one will not miss him. Him and his 
sneering superior ways. He is no true 
brother of mine." 

"I have often thought that myself, 
Mama-Anac, but it is not polite to say 
it." 

"It is no secret that my mother was 
not always discreet, my Huaycar. But 
this little box; why should it upset him 
so? There is more behind it." 

At this instant they were traversing 
the hall of the seven Gods, a tall and 
gloomy passage full of the great sacred 
images and their attendant trappings. 
They turned out of the lofty passage 
into the smaller hall leading into the 
great throneroom where the audience 
would be held. 

From the shadows of the great stone 
figures, from the little hall into which 
the sturdy figure of Mama-Anac had 
just turned, sprang a dozen masked war- 
riors. A heavy black mace crashed up- 
on Huaycar's skull; as he fell, the tiny 
red box was twisted from his grasp. 
Mama - Anac screamed, the startled 
guards whirled up their axes, raised 
their spears or sprang to seize and grap- 
ple the black robed, masked, and terri- 
fying figures. But the leader seized 
Mama-Anac and held a knife to her 
throat. Immediately another of the 
black-masked assassins took his cue 
from the leader, seized Alana. Their 
meaning was all too clear, and help- 
lessly the guards stood, watching the 
attackers back away into the shadows 
of the small passage that led away from 
the throne room. The whole affair had 
lasted not a minute, and the guards 
knew that unless they found a way to 
act, the Inca would find a way to avenge 
their carelessness in allowing this thing 
to happen. Helplessly they watched 
their Empress and her little attendant 
disappear before their eyes. Tumi Hay- 
ta had won the second round in the 
battle for the secret of the Bearded 



Ones! And he had Mama Anac, the 
Empress as hostage. 

/^UTSIDE the great palace waited 
litter-bearers to whisk them away 
to hiding. While the guards searched 
the Palace, Mama-Anac and little Alana 
lay in a curtained litter borne swiftly 
through the streets crowded with the 
holiday's merrymakers, ever farther 
from the safety of the Inca's protection. 
And in Hayta's hand was the tiny box 
of rubra wood. 

Hayta's assassins had left Huaycar 
behind because he looked very much 
dead, his head peeled open by a terrible 
blow of the mace, and all spattered by 
his own blood — he did not look like a 
man apt to talk a great deal about 
what had befallen him. Hayta could 
not afford the Emperor learning of this 
attempt of his to acquire the vast lost 
power of the Ancient Bearded Ones. 

Two hundred miles away lay Tia- 
huanaco, upon the shores of Titicaca, 
the original home of the Bearded Ones' 
vast and almost forgotten Empire; an 
Empire greater by far than the present 
Confederation under the Incas. Tia- 
huanaco, The Place of the Dead, was 
the place Hayta must go to search for 
the hiding place of the treasure of the 
Ancients. Among those Cyclopean ruins 
he could hide, and it was there he must 
search by means of the tiny engraved 
map for the power that lay in possession 
of the treasure. 

Along the great Highway of the In- 
cas his caravan swung at the trot; him- 
self in a rich litter, while ahead the 
larger curtained litter contained the 
bound forms of Mama-Anac and Alana. 
Across the gorges on the great waxed- 
hair cable-suspension bridges, through 
the Andes' Alps by means of the tunnels 
— tremendous tunnels built by Incan 
Engineers, across the masonry bridges 
(which are still in use today — so might- 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



35 



ily were they built) trotted the strong 
legs of the carriers, urged on by curses 
and by liberal wads of coca in their 
cheeks. 

Hayta's Incan hearing told him that 
only some ten miles behind the pursuit 
had formed and was on his trail. And 
the warriors of his brother-in-law had 
no burdens to hold them back! 

Now that his flight was known, Hay- 
ta had a means which would stop any 
pursuit along these precipitous high- 
ways. 

Their party numbered a hundred 
warriors and half as many burden 
bearers and slaves. 

As they completed the swaying cross- 
ing of the wide fabric of a great sus- 
pension bridge, the half dozen bridge 
guards came out of their little guard 
house at the great hair cable's end. It 
was their duty to keep track of the 
passage of any party as large as this — 
for the records of the Inca. 

Hayta signed with his hand to the 
trotting Captain of his warriors. With- 
out pausing in their stride, their painted 
hardwood maquahuitls flashed black 
venom in the sun, crushed through the 
Guards' upthrown arms, through the 
bronze helmets, slashed into the copper 
hued necks, left sudden blood and death 
about the quiet guard house. 

Then swarming up the piled boulders 
bolstering the great anchor rock of the 
cable, up to the round hole through 
the anchor rock where the cable passed 
— the black obsidian-edged maqua- 
huitls gleamed sullen triumph as the 
blades cut and cut again upon the cable 
that was years labor for many hun- 
dred hands — cut and cut until at last 
the great bridge crashed resounding 
into the deep abyss beneath. 

Hayta laughed at the swift destruc- 
tion of such long hard labor for the 
Inca's glory and signed to his men to 
press on less swiftly. The Inca's war- 



riors would consume several days of 
perilous climbing to pass that gorge. 

r^OUR days later they rounded the 

northern end of Lake Titicaca, pass- 
ing now among the awesome vastness 
of half-fallen stone figures of the Gods 
— the Sky God with his fierce condor 
beak, the frog faced God of the Rain, 
past the great grotesque nosed nose of 
the Wind God who leered lewd*ly at 
them from where his fallen head lay 
between his feet. Hayta looked at the 
bright, frightened and angry eyes of 
Alana where she lay with her adorable 
young head thrust through the curtain 
of the litter. 

"Fear you the anger of the An- 
cients, little one?" 

"Xot half so much as I fear yourself, 
rash ingrate that you are! Did you 
have to slay my beloved Huaycar?" 

"Who is not a friend is an enemy, 
little one. The fewer enemies, the bet- 
ter." 

"You should have thought of that 
before you kidnaped Mama-Anac and 
made an enemy of twenty millions of 
people. Can you eliminate all those ene- 
mies, O master of cunning?" 

"When I have the power of the 
Bearded Ones again awake across the 
land, they will be either my friends or 
they will be dead!" 

"Even if you find their forgotten 
horde of weapons and treasure you 
will be too stupid to use them. Think 
you they were fools to build such things 
that a child-mind like yourself could 
operate them? I think that before long 
your head will decorate a pole outside 
the Temple!" 

Hayta's face grew dark with angry 
blood, and the looks his men exchanged 
at her jibes frightened him, for in truth 
everything depended on their belief that 
he could do with the ancient powers 
what he said he could do. 



36 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"You are a magpie, a birdbrain, not 
to know the powers of the Bearded 
Ones. None will stand before me — and 
the place is marked well on the map 
you so kindly obtained for me." 

"If I had known sooner what it was 
you would never have gotten it, oh man- 
with-a-f ace-like-a-dog. ' ' 

The trotting cavalcade passed the 
great stone Plumed Serpent, so differ- 
ent in aspect from the Plumed Serpents 
built nowadays — so different that Ala- 
na, though no priestly student, doubted 
herself that the great mysterious thing 
was Kukulcan at all, but some other 
monstrous God of the past. Past the 
slim, scarred beauty of the lean figure 
of Xipe, that was not Xipe either, but 
some other God lately mistaken for the 
same figure as the God-warrior of the 
Aztecs in the far north. Past the ele- 
phant-headed God — and Alana laughed, 
for it was so impossible that any crea- 
ture could look like that; yet the an- 
cient peoples of this dead city had be- 
lieved in him. 

Now at last the vast shadowed bulk 
of the Punca-Puncu, the Place of the 
Ten Doors — loomed up before them, 
and the procession passed into its 
dwarfing shadow silently, awed by the 
great beauty and majesty, by the 
thought of the mighty ones who had 
built this place — so much beyond the 
power of Modern Incan engineers to 
construct. 

"M"OW Tumi Hayta and the smarter of 
his men bent long over the little 
crystal that enlarged the micro-engrav- 
ing on the nugget. Long they searched 
through the labyrinthine mystery of the 
Tunca Puncu, and long they compared 
markings on the walls with markings on 
the map. And at last, as day was clos- 
ing. Hayta bent over the floor of the 
inner chamber where the great old 
Master God of the Ancients stared 



down at them from his vast niche with 
his ruby red eyes twinkling in the fire 
from the sinking sun that struck even 
here from cunning little slots in the wall 
. . . Hayta bent and lifted from the 
floor one of the great silver interlocking 
keys between the vast slabs of which 
the Tunca Puncu was built— and as he 
tugged out the key, the slab tilted on 
its pivoted center, and revealed a long 
flight of two-foot steps leading down- 
.ward into darkness. 

The party passed down the tall steps. 
the litter-bearers grunting, their sandals 
slapping the dusty stone hard when the 
weight of the litters hit them as they 
lowered them down the two-foot drops 
of the steps. Hayta came down last, 
carefully letting the great stone shift 
back into place, his shoulder helping the 
groaning, creaking ancient mechanism. 

Alana, now dangling over the shoul- 
der of a burly warrior, her hands bound 
behind her and her ankles trussed pain- 
fully, looked at the walls as they passed 
through the gloomy, abandoned home of 
the ancient people. The rocks of the 
walls were huge, many-faceted, fitting 
snugly together, and held there by slots 
in which solid silver keys, locking bars 
with T ends, had been driven. It was 
a method of construction no longer used 
or understood. The torches flickered, 
Mama-Anac moaned ahead of her, still 
suffering from a blow on the head given 
her when she screamed to a guard at 
a bridge. Mama-Anac would be all right 
in a day or so, maybe. 

Alana was scared, and she knew that 
there was little chance of the unimagin- 
ative soldiers of the Incan army finding 
them here. It was hot and close down 
here. Her face dripped with sweat and 
tears. She wriggled, and the warrior 
bearing her sank his fingers painfully 
into her leg to make her be still. She 
stopped wriggling. 

They came out of the long dank pas- 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



37 



sage at last into the vast subterranean 
Chamber of Magic, where the priests of 
ancient times had kept their secrets, 
their prisoners, their forbidden plea- 
sures, their wine and the tools of their 
sacred mummery. 

CHAPTER II 

TLTUAYCAR struggled back to con- 
sciousness in a red haze of pain. 
Over him the face of Sana Ptaoul, the 
Inca's own surgeon, bent — and what he 
was doing with his fingers to Huaycar's 
scalp was excruciating. Huaycar mur- 
mured: ''Must you torture me? What 
have I done father? 

"It must seem like torture, my Huay- 
car. But if you are ever to seduce 
another Sun Virgin, you will have to 
have some hair on your head — so I am 
sewing the pieces back in place. Your 
attackers, striking more squarely, would 
have left you your scalp, but crushed 
your skull. So you should be glad to 
be alive! By the way, just what was 
the shindig about? Why did they take 
Mama-Anac and Alana? It doesn't 
make sense." 

"It was Hayta. He has the map to 
the lost treasure of the Ancients. Alana 
found it, showed it to me. We were 
going to the Audience — he struck to 
regain it. He must have thought I was 
dead." 

"You certainly looked dead! Half 
your scalp torn off and bleeding a tor- 
rent. You would have died of bleeding 
had you lain a few minutes longer. But 
I stopped the blood. I will patch you 
up, I hope." 

The old doctor squeezed a handful of 
leaves between his fingers, directing the 
green juice droplets upon the great gash 
he had just closed. Then thoughtfully 
he mashed the leaves in a pestle, and 
lay them as a poultice along the wound. 
Behind him stood two of the Sun Vir- 



gins, sent by the aged High Priest to 
care for his aide and probable successor. 
In their hands were tall black ewers of 
water, of the glossy glazed work deco- 
rated with line figures in gold; white 
soft bandage-weaving — and on their 
faces was grave concern for his welfare, 
for they liked the big laughing warrior 
who had unwillingly become their 
"shepherd" not long ago. 

Lovely, innocent faces, thought 
Huaycar. So soon to die! It did not 
make sense. He did not greatly believe 
in the Gods he served. One could talk 
to the Gods, yes, sometimes, but the 
answers never sounded to Huaycar like 
Gods' voices, and the results were never 
anything he would accomplish if he had 
a God's power. So to Huaycar the busi- 
ness of pushing Virgins into a well to 
make rain next year was particularly 
unfortunate and foolish.* 

As Sana Ptaoul finished the bandag- 
ing of his terrifically throbbing head, 
Huaycar relaxed and closed his eyes. 
But as sleep swept over him he heard 
the soft voice of a friend, and opened 
his eyes again to see Kapac Tupa, the 
glorious Inca, talking to Sana Ptaoul 
with a troubled face. Thinking that his 
concern was for himself, Huaycar spoke 
loudly — 

"Oh My Inca, trouble yourself not 
about me, for other than a sad headache 
from the blow I am well. The wound, 
to my knowledge, is not serious." 

The tall majesty of Kapac Tupa 



* According to most writers of the Incas they 
did not push virgins into the well for the rain god, 
or sacrifice human beings ; these cruel practices be- 
ing confined to the Aztecs and Toltecs of Mexico 
and those races under their domination and in- 
fluence. But this paragraph slipped in — you can 
take it or leave it; I left it — as the idea of these 
races without human sacrifice connected with their 
ceremonies is so general. But in truth, the Incas' 
laws were well enforced, and they were infinitely 
superior to the Spanish, who conquered them only 
by deceits and subterfuges the Incas found incon- 
ceivable. — Author. 



38 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



swept closer, his rich robes sending the 
scent of the camac flower before him, 
the embroidered image of Inti on his 
breast glittering, and above it all the 
wise dignity of the man, the gentle cul- 
ture that was Kapac Tupa's self, smiling 
down upon the injured man. 

"There is a something mysterious 
about this disaffection of my brother-in- 
law that I cannot put my finger on, 
Huaycar. Can you help me?" 

"He thought that the bead which 
little Alana purloined from the gifts 
from the Masked Ruler of the Forest 
was a map to the treasure of the 
Bearded Ones. I thought so myself 
when I first examined the engraving, but 
now that Timi has gone overboard I 
have another idea. I am not yet ready 
to declare to you what my thought is, 
but I too smell a strange odor of in- 
trigue about this affair." 

"We do not have all the pieces of the 
puzzle, my gentle shepherd of the Vir- 
gins. When we do, we will see a great 
light in this sudden action of Hayta's. 
It does not make sense that he would 
throw away my favor for a chancy 
affair like the treasure of the Bearded 
Ones; which is in truth but a legend, 
and not a reliable one, to my mind. We 
know they had certain wonderful 
things, true; but we do not know that 
they placed them in this alleged cache 
when they again left this land behind 
them." 

Huaycar groaned loudly and shifted 
his weight on the cushioned couch. The 
Inca said in a concerned voice, "I will 
talk of this with you another time, 
Huaycar. You are not yet recovered." 

"It is not so much my head that 
hurts, O my Emperor.* It is that con- 
founded joke about the Virgins. I hear 
it morning, noon and night. It was one 
of the last things Mama-Anac said to 
me." 

The Emperor laughed. "The jest is 



one inspired by envy, noble son of my 
friend. You will always hear it, till 
you are too old for it to make sense." 

"That is a dispiriting thought. Now 
my head does ache!" 

"I have set my best trackers after 
the traitor. He will not escape, no 
matter where he flees." 

"It would seem that he plots further 
than a mere excursion after mythical 
treasure, O Panaca Tupa. I would keep 
my spies awake in Quito and in the 
land of the Manabi. Something may be 
afoot!" 

CHAPTER III 

1LTAYTA was not surprised to find 
subterranean chambers, as many 
of the greater builders of his own people 
built such places — escape tunnels, un- 
derground storerooms and dungeons — 
but he was surprised to find an exten- 
sive, labyrinthine series of chambers, 
leading on and on; no one now alive 
knew where. 

The party, feeling safe in their hiding, 
prepared to spend the night. Hayta 
and his chief officer sat themselves down 
under a torch to study the tiny micro- 
map at greater length, for this latter 
part of its detail gave the exact loca- 
tion of the treasure they sought . . . 
and now must find or eventually fall to 
the searching Inca soldiery. 

It was with vast surprise that Hayta 
heard from his sharper-eared warriors 



* The tenth Incan Emperor's name before he 
became Inca was Panaca Kapac Tupa and after 
he became Inca his title was Tupac-Yupanqui 
Inca. The first his actual name, the last an honor- 
ary or symbolic title. 

All the Empresses are titled Mama, something 
like our Queen-mother. 

The Eighth Inca took the name of Wira-Kocha 
Inca although his right name was SocSoc. Wira- 
Kocha was a mythical god-person who created 
lake Titicaca, and is supposed to have built the 
cyclopean Pre-Incan ruins. The Inca took the 
god's name. — Author. 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



39 



that, in the distance marching feet were 
approaching along some underground 
passage. 

"Hundreds of men, armed men — and 
they are not the Inca's!" 

Now, far off, nearer and nearer, they 
saw a line of flickering torches. The 
wearied warriors sprang from the skins 
and ponchos they had stretched on the 
cold stone, to look to their weapons. 
Fo* them was no retreating, they were 
too weary. 

Into the far end of the vast chamber 
— gloomy with shadows and eerie as it 
was — marched a mass of men fronted 
by a frightful figure which made the 
already frightened Alana shiver still 
more with apprehension and eerie dread 
of the things that looked so much like 
the armies of the dead, talked of in 
their legends. 

Hayta was surprised, but n o t so 
greatly as one would expect; and as the 
frightful foremost figure became more 
distinct, Tumi Hayta stood at attention, 
his weapon held before him in salute. 

The clutched spears of his n\en re- 
laxed, came to the vertical of their 
military salute. It was plain to Alana 
that this meeting, while surprising to 
Hayta, was at the same time not with 
any stranger, but with someone known 
to himself and to his men. 

That foremost figure stalked on, 
nearer and nearer, but his marching 
warriors stopped, the foremost spread 
out a little in the far end of the chamber. 
His face was a fierce golden mask, wide 
mouthed and hideous; the face of Cimi, 
the Death God — or the face of Supay 
himself. His height was not great, but 
he was extremely wide, the legs bowed 
and hugely muscled and twistedly de- 
formed. His arms hung to his knees, 
huge-handed and hairy as an ape's. 
Tumi Hayta bowed in low obeisance be- 
fore this hideous apparition, and hum- 
bled himself as he had never done before 



his own Inca. 

"Welcome, O Lord of the Dark For- 
ests, who holds in the hollow of his 
hand the lives of all the myriad of the 
Manabi; O visitor from the Dark Mys- 
teries of Haek-Pachac; O master of the 
Mysteries of the Lost Underworld — I 
greet thee. I did not expect to find you 
here. I came here thinking I had un- 
covered at last the lost hiding place 
of the Treasures of the Bearded Ones — 
only to find yourself already here. With 
me I have a hostage who should in- 
terest you — the Mama-Anac Huarca, 
the Empress!" 

ly/TAMA-ANAC lifted her rather 
sweet middle-aged face at the 
sound of her name on her false brother's 
lips, but at sight of the fierce golden 
mask and hideous deformed limbs of the 
Masked One, she screamed and fell 
again into the unconscious state in 
which she had spent her time since the 
fall of the great suspension bridge. 

"Greetings, faithful servant." The 
mysterious and frightening figure of the 
Masked One lifted a wide, bulky palm 
in the gesture of peace, his deep frog 
voice booming and echoing eerily in the 
rock chamber. "Though affairs have 
taken a somewhat different trend than 
I had planned, yet there is much for 
which to be grateful to chance and to 
the Gods. You see, my Tumi, I sent 
that bead to the Inca with a double 
purpose. With it I sent an agent, whom 
I told to rumor that it contained the 
map to the long sought treasure of an- 
cient power. But I have never been 
quite sure of you and your allegiance, 
for others of high rank like yourself 
have failed me through an inability to 
realize that I could offer them vastly 
more than their rulers. Thinking you 
likewise would fail me, I did not tell 
you why that bead was sent to the Inca 
— and it has trapped you into an in- 



40 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



discretion which might have made you 
useless to me forever. I expected my 
agent to tell many of the nobles of 
Cuzco that the bead contained the map 
so long sought; but he told you among 
the first — and you slew him before he 
could complete his work. Your impul- 
siveness is understood, and it is my fault 
that I did not tell you what plan I had 
in mind. I expected the Inca to fall 
for my little lie and lead a search party 
here to find the treasure, for he has 
searched other clues in person before. 
Once down here, I would have him — 
and after him his Empire — in my hands. 
It is unfortunate that you have removed 
the little bait for my trap from his 
hands. 

The golden mask turned awkwardly, 
looking into all the shadows of the room 
to see who might be listening to him. 
Then he went on, "It were better we 
two talked alone. There are things I 
must tell you now — now that I know 
you are one who must serve me or have 
nothing. Our positions, the whole plan, 
has altered vastly by your action." 

Tumi nodded, and barked an order 
to his men. They left the great cham- 
ber, taking Alana and Mama-Anac with 
them. 

Alana said savagely, "Already this 
traitor thinks like an Inca, he makes 
sixty people leave the room, where he 
could himself walk a few steps and be 
as much alone." But Mama-Anac did 
not answer, and Alana bent her mind 
to overhear the echoing murmur of the 
conspiring voices in the distance. The 
shape and acoustics of the rock helping 
her, she made out to hear much. 

The Masked One was continuing, his 
voice rolling in confusing, whispering 
echoes: 

"My friend. I have lied to you, and 
I must confess it. The map on the little 
bead of gold is false. There is no knowl- 
edge in my mind of the location of the 



mysterious powers of the God-like 
Bearded Ones. I sent that nugget to 
the Inca, among other things and gifts, 
for a purpose. I also sent an agent to 
spread a rumor as to what the little 
bead really was. That it would lead 
a man to the immense power of the 
weapons of the Bearded Ones. But 
the agent I chose was a poor one, and 
he did not fully understand my orders. 
He told you of the value of the bead, 
because he believed that it really was 
such a valuable thing, and that you 
would richly reward him. You did ; you 
killed him — which upset certain of my 
plans. It kept him from telling those 
whom I told him to inform. You see, 
if the Inca should have that map, and 
should come to this place, I have pre- 
pared a force of men here to take him 
— an army of men, indeed." 

Tumi's voice, higher pitched, yet 
could be heard by Alana. "You thought 
to test me, to see if I would tell the 
Inca of the value of this map?" 

"That was part of my plan, if you 
wish to think that." 

'"TUMI was vilely disappointed. "It 
does not lead to the Power of the 
Ancients — it is folly I have thrown 
away my life for! This is not a good 
thing you have done to me." 

"On the contrary, your swift, impul- 
sive seizure of the golden bead, and your 
forced abduction of the Empress to 
keep her mouth closed about the map — 
or for what reason you did so — played 
into our hands beautifully. I can now 
show you how to become the Inca!" 

"How, O mighty friend? I will soon 
be a dead man if you mislead me again." 

"Send that bit of engraved foolish- 
ness back to the Inca. Place it in the 
hands of one of your men — the one most 
likely to be believed. Have him say 
that he heard of its value, stole it and 
brought it to his Emperor in loyal up- 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



41 



holding, knowing that his Inca would 
die if you, Tumi Hayta, reached the 
trove of weapons before the Inca. The 
dignified fool will go at once to the place 
marked on the map, taking with him 
but a few hundred men at the most. 

The Golden Mask — a sample of fine 
but eveil handiwork in the precious 
metal; a mask that contained a lifelike 
image of Hell's fiercest face — looked a 
moment upon Tumi with the inscrut- 
able disturbing regard of two empty 
eye sockets. The too-deep voice went 
on: 

"And that place is here — here — 
where no tactical elusiveness or skill 
will help him to escape us. Here in 
these sunless borrows he will die at our 
hands. He will not bring a great many 
men because he will want to travel 
swiftly, and an army cannot travel 
swiftly for baggage. He will think 
that your own search for the hiding 
place will be delayed or blocked entire- 
ly by the loss of the map on the nug- 
get — and will hasten to be sure to be in 
time to forestall you in case you had 
copied out the map upon a larger sur- 
face. He will believe in the truth of 
the map quite as much as you did. He 
knows a great deal about the Bearded 
Ones from the palace records. He has 
long sought the legendary cache of 
mighty God-Weapons." 

Tumi's voice was gloating, pre-ex- 
ultant with the taste of imagined 
triumph. "And here we set upon him, 
eh? Here we slay him, and here he 
will lie and rot in these forgotten halls. 
Then we march at once on Cuzco, pro- 
claim the Mama-Anac Empress. Then 
we force her to proclaim her brother 
Tumi Hayta as her regent! I will be 
the Inca within this moon's passage, 
Master of the Manabi — I will be the 
Inca!" 

"Yes, it is lucky for us that Kapac 
Tupa has no lawful heir. As it is the 



greater part of the nobles will come 
over to our side, against those who see 
through our plan — for the sake of sweet 
legality. Had the Inca a son, our plan 
would never work." 

"I understand the plan fully. It is 
a good and practical planl" 

"After you have become Regent over 
all the Confederated Quichua, you can 
cede to me the lands of the Manabi 
now held by the Inca. Then, a little 
later, we will march on Quito in the 
North, and conquer our only rival in 
this whole land. After that, who is to 
say what could not be ours?" 

"Your plans are irresistible, O Lord 
of Death and Life. It is also a pleasant 
thought to know that the nobles of 
Cuzco would never accept yourself as 
ruler. It will be to your advantage 
to keep Tumi Hayta in the land of 
the living." 

"Yes, that is a good and healthy 
thought for both of us. My own dark 
minded warriors would want none of 
your milk and water ways did you 
think to conquer or to lead them in my 
place, to dispense with my own dread 
mummery and dark mysterious claims 
of kinship with the Lord of Death. So 
there is little danger of either of us 
trying to annex the others power. We 
should work well together, Tumi Hayta, 
so long as you remember who is Boss!" 

From the eyeholes of the golden 
mask a long stare bored into Tumi's 
face, and slowly the power of the mind 
behind that mask struck into Tumi 
Hayta a cold and dreadful fear, so that 
he half credited that The Masked One's 
claim of kinship with the Underworld 
was not a lie, and that his mention of 
his claims as mummery was the real 
lie. And Tumi shivered in his fear, and 
the Masked One laughed at the sudden 
craven face of him. For behind those 
holes in the metal face of the mask, 
Tumi could see not the least glitter of 



42 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



light, not the least sign of wet eye- 
ball, but only a terrible red-lit dark- 
ness, and deep within him a flood of 
cold fear welled up, a superstition that 
would not down. This man was other 
than life. 

Fighting hard against the fear that 
gripped him, Tumi seized the tall black 
torch that burned on the table and 
held it up to the golden horror of the 
Mask. And then he set it down again 
with trembling hands, and the Masked 
One turned away with a mocking 
laugh that yet was triumphant evil. 

For Tumi Hayta knew that never 
would he do other than this thing that 
looked so little like a man wished him 
to do. 

COME seven suns later, into the glit- 
tering chambers of the Inca of all 
the Quichuas, staggered a sweat drench- 
ed and dust streaked warrior. One of 
the Lacunas: he had been absent since 
the flight of Tumi Hayta. He fell on 
his face before the Emperor, his breath 
coming in great gasps. Above him 
stood four of his countrymen, their 
faces like thunderstorms — for disaffec- 
tion of a half-dozen of the royal guard 
had thrown their whole race into the 
shadow of the Emperor's doubt of 
their loyalty. It could lead to the de- 
struction of their homeland, the trans- 
planation of their whole race to lands 
farther from the center of the Inca's 
power, the breaking up of the homes 
of their people forever — did any furth- 
er thing cause his doubt to grow. Their 
short stabbing spears were poised above 
the prostrate man's back, ready for the 
death blow did the Inca give the word. 
But he raised his hand, saying: "Let 
the traitor speak!" 

The prostrate man raised his head, 
and held up his open hand. In the 
palm glowed a little golden bead! From 
his place beside the Inca, Huaycar ut- 



tered a low cry, and stepped forward 
swiftly, lifted the tiny gleaming object 
to his eye. 

"It is, O my Inca, it is the map of 
the hoard of the Ancients. This man 
has somehow retrieved the cause of 
this trouble and brought it again to 
you." 

The Inca bent forward, interest 
glowing bright on his face, "Speak, O 
fearful one. Speak of the Empress 
and why you have returned. Better for 
you had you brought Mama-Anac back 
to me than this tiny gaud! " 

"I was forced by my brothers to 
help them or die. When I heard of 
the mighty power that lay in the lines 
invisibly written upon this bead, I saw 
my chance and stole it — bringing it to 
you — that our kindly ruler might not 
be replaced by an evil man like Tumi 
Hayta. He plans to use the power of the 
Bearded Ones — which he will find with 
this tiny bead — to slay # you, to set 
himself upon your throne, to rule us 
all with the lightning of the Ancients' 
terrible weapons. I have brought you 
the map, that you may be swifter than 
he. and with your armies seize this 
place marked upon the map so that 
Tumi Hayta, when he arrives to un- 
earth the hidden store, will find your 
anger waiting for him. I have run 
faster than any man other than myself 
could run, to bring you this power. 
With it you can be a greater ruler than 
any before you ever was." 

"You have looked at the map through 
the lens?" The Inca had turned to 
Huaycar. "Where does the map place 
the ancient cache?" 

"See, I will show you. I have another 
of the Manabi lenses. Look, here, 
through the light." 

The Inca gravely held the gem to his 
eye, and moved the bead about till the 
lines invisible upon it became pictures, 
until the pictures became understand- 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



43 



able places. "Now the first picture 
shows the Ancient Highway running be- 
tween Cuzco and Lake Titicaca. It 
shows the Bearded Ones traveling 
along that Highway, does it not?" 

"Yes, it does show that." 

"Next picture: it shows the vast city 
of Tiahuanaco, when it was the holy 
city of all this land, none of the build- 
ings fallen. And it shows the Bearded 
Ones entering the greatest building of 
all, The Tunca-Puncu. The Temple 
they built to their own invisible God, 
the Creator, whom we still worship 
above our god and the Inti — the sun — 
who is the son of the Creator." 

"Yes, the map shows the Tunca 
Puncu." 

"Now if you look carefully, the trail 
leads beneath the Tunca Puncu. There 
are subterranean chambers there about 
which I myself did not know till I saw 
this bead. The last picture of all shows 
the general layout of the subterranean 
chambers, and a cross marks the place 
of the cache." 

T^ROM the stone floor where he still 
groveled before the Inca, the La- 
cuna spoke. "O my glorious Emperor, 
it is to the Tunca Puncu that Tumi 
Hayta has fled with Mama-Anac. He 
lifted a pivoted stone, and went down 
into the bowels of the earth under the 
mighty ruined palace of the Ancients." 

"What is his strength. man who 
turns his coat every day?" 

The warrior's face fell at the words 
of the Inca, for it showed he was not 
entirely believed. 

"His strength is some hundred war- 
riors now, and more come in from his 
own lands, from Macchu Picchu — and 
there are too some dark skinned men 
from the land oi the Manabi." 

"Manabi? Then the Masked One, 
too, angles for this treasure of the 
Ancients! There must be more truth 



than I had credited to the legend of the 
weapons to be found there. Does the 
Masked One think to upset me, O fear- 
ful one?" The Inca's face was scowling, 
and the cunning mind of the Lacuna 
warrior knew that he had said too 
much. 

"I do not know; there was much talk 
among the nobles I was not privileged 
to hear." 

The Inca turned to Huaycar, his face 
suddenly firm with decision. "This is 
a gathering storm during which we can- 
not sit upon our behinds, Huaycar. Call 
together the officers, and we will plan 
to pull this little brother-in-law out of 
that hole he has found to crawl into." 

"There is a certain bad odor about 
this, Panaca Tupa. The whole thing 
could be a trumpery lie. The inner 
plan looks strangely to me like the cun- 
ning twining of that dark mysterious 
snake, the ruler of the Manabi. His 
mummery, his passion for secrecy, his 
ways of thinking, of which I have 
heard from spies of ours among them. 
I would say this could well be a trap 
of his — carefully planned. You see, my 
Inca, did he succeed in killing you, 
Mama-Anac could proclaim her brother 
the regent." 

The Inca's face grew dark with 
anger. Huaycar hastily went on: 

"I do not think the Empress has a 
hand in this; but they could easily trick 
her, after your death, into being an un- 
willing accomplice. Holding her, they 
hold a claim to the throne!" 

"Whatever is in their minds, your 
warning is timely, but your caution is 
not too timely. We will send against 
that dark ruin enough sound warriors 
to pluck it stone from stone and crush 
the worms within before they grow into 
serpents." 

"If they are planning a trap for you, 
they will insist that you come in person 
to bargain for the raniom of your Em- 



44 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



press and for Alana. That will be the 
give-away. So do you remain here, and 
I will go to step into their little trap. 
Then, knowing what is in their minds, 
do not bargain; but fling your whole 
strength against them and crush them 
at once. Just to make sure they do not 
trap you, I will take along your robes 
of office, the golden mace, the feathered 
crown — the whole trappings of your 
glory. When they ask for you in per- 
son, I will show myself from afar as 
you — and they will spring their snare 
upon the wrong animal. Then all will 
be plain before you, and their cards 
will be upon the table while your own 
strength remains untouched. How do 
you like that plan?" 

"You are more cunning that I had 
known, it is not a good thing that your- 
self should be a priest, when the land 
needs soldiers. One day I may remedy 
that." 

"That day I will marry Alana and 
be happy, if she remains alive through 
this treachery." 

'"THE Inca was thoughtful. "But I 
think your cunning in this case is 
wrong. I think that my dear brother- 
in-law is mad, has no alliance with the 
Masked one, and that there is no trap 
and no plan to use the Empress to re- 
place me with her brother. I myself 
am going along with this expedition, be- 
cause I want to see with my own eyes 
what this treasure of the Bearded Ones 
is all about. It is a strange tale to cause 
so much anguish to us. I would know 
what lies under that gloomy ruin, the 
Tunca-Puncu. It has ever been a curi- 
ous, dark, mysterious and unknown 
place. If there are underground cham- 
bers and passages, I want to see them 
for myself." 

"You should remember, good friend 
to me before my Inca, that this bead 
came to you direct from the hands of 



the Masked one ! His people are skilled 
in making these things, and it could have 
been inscribed only the day before it 
was sent to you. There is no reason to 
think this so-called map is anything but 
a bait, and a rather obvious and silly 
bait, for a trap. Your own riches and 
power are vastly more actual than any 
prize of the Bearded Ones, who are so 
long disappeared into time that we do 
not know for sure they had any treas- 
ures we would value — or could use. It 
is to me too plain that the Masked 
One plays a devious game with us, and 
such is his reputation." 

"Nevertheless, my young Pillar of 
Caution, I am going. I have not had 
any fun for years. I would like to hear 
the battle cries, the glorious thrill of the 
shock of the charge; the streaming 
blood of brave men ; the feel of a weap- 
on in my hands! You would not allow 
your Emperor to scratch his little finger, 
had you your way. What will my war- 
riors think of me, if I obey you and re- 
main here like a fearful woman while 
my own loyal men die to pluck my wife 
back from a few hundred traitorous 
kinsmen. Bah, Huaycar, there is a 
thing called too much caution. There is 
another name my own brave warriors 
will give it if I listen to you! I could 
not face them." 

CO IT was that a thousand of the 
Inca's best trotted down the King's 
Highway toward the ruined city of 
Tiahuanaco, toward the Holy Lake 
Titicaca; and in the midst of them 
swayed the painted, luxurious palan- 
quin of Tupac Yupanqui Inca, whose 
actual name was Panaca Kapac Tupa. 
And walking beside him marched Huay- 
car, his priestly robes discarded for the 
glittering weapons of a warrior officer — 
and his priest's benign smile for the 
frank, honest face of a man of action 
going toward the action for which he 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



45 



was born. 

The stone mile-posts, each one mark- 
ing the number in distance from Cuzco, 
were swung by their rhythmic, strong 
brown legs, and every twenty miles the 
party of warriors stopped at the rest- 
house for food, wine and an hour of 
sprawling talk and refreshment. 

Each night the Inca talked with the 
Officers of the distant palace by means 
of the fire-signals from the towers — 
and there was little of importance there 
that he was not informed of. Too, he 
listened to Huaycar's still insistant 
warnings, and ordered from Cuzco 
another force of five thousand men to 
start the journey for the ruins of the 
sacred city — and at those villages about 
Titicaca were some two thousand men 
waiting to join their ruler. Thus he 
insured the presence of a strong force 
if he should need it, but Panaca Tupa 
did not believe he would need it to sub- 
due the despised Tumi Hayta. 

His rage at the destruction of the 
suspension bridges was terrible to see. 

Night had fallen on the eighth day 
when the Inca's thousand approached 
Tiahuanaco, the City of the Dead; for 
they were much delayed by crossing the 
gorges. This was the home of the 
Ancients. The lake Titicaca gleamed 
silver and placid in the moonlight, and 
the gloomy grandeur of the mighty 
home of the Elder Incas, the Holy City 
where the majesty of a race greater than 
their own, but now passed into oblivion, 
struck into their hearts an awe and a 
feeling of their own inferior worth. 

Huaycar counseled that they make 
camp, and enter the deserted avenues 
of the mighty city in the safe light of 
the morning; but Panaca Tupa insisted 
on looking on the hill of the Tunca 
Puncu in the night. It was in his mind 
that some light, some motion, would be- 
tray the presence of the men of Tumi 
Hayta, might show whether they were 



many or few. 

They made camp in the Kalasasaya, 
the Sun Temple, on the great paved 
terrace in front — the steep walls of the 
terrace forming a spot easily defended 
— the only entrance being the broad 
stone stairway. At the western end of 
the terrace the mighty Gateway of the 
Sun insured them of the protection of 
their God, Inti. Looking at the scenes 
carved on the single great stone of the 
gateway, cryptically telling of the pre- 
paration for the war with the Jaguar 
God of the Night, the assembling of his 
lesser Gods by the Condor God who car- 
ries the Sun, Inti, across the heavens 
every day— Huaycar mused that this 
battle of evil and good is always present 
in one way or another. Too, he won- 
dered why the Incan stone-cutters had 
no longer the vast skill of these an- 
cients; and wondered if it was that 
they no longer knew how to harden 
metal to their use as had the ancient 
race. He wondered if they should find 
within the supposed hiding place of the 
Elder Bearded Race's* tools and weap- 
ons and magic, hardened metal stone- 
cutters' tools among the other things, 
so that once again their Incan stone 
masons might equal the mighty skill of 
these ancient forgotten artisans. 

Huaycar himself saw to the posting, 
of sentries and made all secure. 

CHAPTER V 



AXflTHIN the Tunca Puncu, Hayta 
was aware of the coming of the 

* It is interesting to speculate if it was not this 
legend of the Bearded Ones that assisted the 
Spanish Conquest as much as their horse and 
armor. The Incans had a reverence for all the 
works of the races that preceded them ; they were 
Holy Ones, and the greatest of these were The 
Bearded Ones who came from no one knows 
where and disappeared the same place. It is quite 
possible the Incas had difficulty persuading their 
warriors to struggle against the "bearded'' Spanish. 
— Author. 



46 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Inca. Nervously he waited, sending 
word by messenger down the long sub- 
terranean passage, the escape tunnel of 
the ancient cunning Lords who had built 
this vast pile — a tunnel that ran almost 
to the coast, opening in the foothills of 
the Andes on the Manabi territory. 

Then night wore on, and with coming 
of the dawn came again the tread of 
the marching warriors of the Masked 
One. Little Alana woke Mama Anac, 
whispering : "That horror in the golden 
Mask is back, now don't wake up and 
start screaming, just look at me and 
don't think about him." 

"I can't stand the sight of the beast. 
He is as wide as he is tall — and more 
ugly than is possible!" 

"He seems to have Tumi Hayta 
pretty well under his thumb. Your 
brother looks at him as if he was 
hypnotized." 

"He could be at that. Certainly Tumi 
is playing the fool for a lot of promises 
from that one. He does not exactly look 
like a man whose word was untarnished 
as gold, does he?" 

"He looks like a fiend from the pit! 
For all that, he may be the kind of 
animal that our religion says really lives 
— the beasts of the abyss beneath our 
feet. We don't know! He claims to be 
related to the King of Death, the ruler 
of the Underworld; and who is to say 
different?" 

"Bah! It is lies he has made up to 
frighten his ignorant forest people into 
obeying him. He is just the misbegot- 
ten freak from some mother who got 
her love affairs mixed up and came out 
loser. He is a monster — and probably 
his father was before him." 

"But where could such a hairy man 
come from? There are no hairy 
Indians." 

"There are tales of hairy races in the 
past, and he could be a throwback CO 
some ancestor of that kind." 



"But, hush, Mama — he speaks — we 
want to hear ! " 

The deep booming voice was not try- 
ing to be secret and they could not miss 
hearing. 

"Well, Tumi Hayta, our condor has 
come to the trap; I told you he would 
do what we expected. He has taken 
a few hundred men and rushed to be 
the first to unearth the ancient wisdom." 

"It is more like he has rushed to get 
his wife and my head, O Masked and 
Secret One — but that is no matter. 
What matters is that he is here where 
we can kill him. He is camped upon 
the terrace about the Kalasasaya. His 
sentrys are well posted in the shadow 
of each of the mighty pillars. It is a 
place easy to defend, hard to take by 
storm." 

"He will not stay in that position. He 
will march straight up to these deserted 
doors, enter the Tunca Puncu, lift out 
the silver key just as you did and come 
down here. The whole lot of them will 
come down here as though they had no 
fear. I know their minds, little things 
of no strength. 

"You underestimate the Inca. He 
will not enter these passages for you to 
kill him. He is rash and proud, but not 
that rash." 

"Well, post your men. When he 
comes, club down the first that enter, 
silently. Then if he calls down these 
stairs to know what is waiting, you your- 
self will call back that all is well. The 
chambers are empty of all but the 
wonderous magic, work of those who 
built this city. Then he will come, if 
there is nothing to cause him caution. 
If there is a noise of combat, and some- 
thing arouses his fear — if he does not 
enter — we will charge out upon him as 
he retreats before our sudden showing 
of greater strength. Panaca Tupa will 
not live to embrace Mama- Anac again. 
He has already entered our trap too far 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



47 



to escape." 



CHAPTER VI 



AS DAWN brighted the sky above 
the mighty Andes, Huaycar stood 
beneath the single massive block of 
carved andesite that formed the ancient 
Gateway of the Sun and chanted the 
ritual of welcome with which the priest 
greets every day. Silently the warriors 
stood, their eyes on the yellow and 
awesome God of the skies, and the 
prayer had more meaning, this day, it 
seemed, than ever it had among the 
living avenues of Cuzco. 

The short ceremony over, Panaca 
Tupa called the officers together for a 
council of war. A half-dozen warriors 
left to scout the great bulk of the Tunca 
Puncu, a mile away; to look for smoke, 
for signs of Tumi's men. 

In an hour the scouts returned with 
a wholly negative report. The tracks 
of the party could be seen entering the 
great ruin, none leaving. They were 
somewhere within. Panaca Tupa 
turned to the Lacuna who had brought 
was born. 

"Can you guide us to the turning 
stone within the Tunca Puncu where 
Hayta went into the underground 
chambers?" 

"Surely, O my Emperor. It lies not 
far within the central chamber of Pacha 
Kamac, the Creator. 

The Inca turned to Huaycar. "We 
will have to enter the burrow, dangerous 
as that may be, for I see no other way 
to lay the dog by the heels." 

"I have said be careful too often to 
repeat it, my Inca. It could be a trap, 
and the warriors of the Masked One 
waiting beneath to destroy you." 

"Bearing that in mind, we will spring 
the trap — if it be one — upon empty 
nothing." 

"Huaycar, take this fellow who claims 



to have turned his coat twice in one 
week, and find that turning stone. 
Send him down alone, and then follow- 
after him, just within hearing distance. 
As soon as you hear him speak, return 
and we will decide what the speaking 
meant. And you, worthless one, if you 
want to stay alive, turn your coat my 
way this time for sure or your death 
will not be a pleasant one. If they wait 
beneath, speak to them in such a way 
that they will not realize we test them — ■ 
and Huaycar can return with the words 
you say. If there is no one there . . ." 

"But Master, I stole that bead and 
fled. Tumi Hayta will kill me at once 
he sees me." 

"In that case Huaycar will hear his 
words and bear them again to me. and I 
will know you died honestly. But in 
case he does not kill you, but welcomes 
you as returned spy — what then 1 " 

"Why then I will have served you, 
for you know Tumi Hayta waits below 
with the Empress — what more could 
you know?" 

"These Manabi you witlessly men- 
tioned, how many of them wait below?" 

"I do not know, Master." 

"It would be better if you did know, 
for you! Now, if you are a spy, how 
much do you think Hayta will pay you? 
When he is through he will kill you so 
that he will not have to reward you. He 
is not kind and generous, not a good 
man. Why do you serve him?" 

"Let me go alone, and I will return 
and tell you exactly what awaits 
below." 

"That is a good idea. Now go ! " 

Quickly the tall Lacuna set out for 
the gloomy ruin towering in the dis- 
tance. The Inca signed to Huaycar, 
and Huaycar — thinking like the Inca it 
were better if the fellow did not know 
he were followed — set out after the man 
at a distance of a hundred paces. But 
with him went a score of warriors, and 



48 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



they went at an angle, so that when the 
Lacuna looked back, he would think 
they traveled to circle the ruined Tunca 
Puncu. 

1LTUAYCAR, as soon as the tall La- 
cuna had disappeared between the 
huge portals of the Place of Ten Doors, 
ran forward, ducked his head into the 
gloom, saw the man turn the corner, and 
hastened after him. Behind him came 
his twenty, as silent as serpents. 

Into the dread chamber of the 
Creator, where his red eyes glowed 
startlingly through the gloom, and gap- 
ing upon the tilted slab down which the 
spy had disappeared. On swift but 
silent feet Huaycar stole to the opening, 
peered down into darkness. No sound 
came up — nothing. Quickly he lowered 
himself down the two-foot high steps, 
but with his back first, so that he could 
sprint upward at the first sign of at- 
tack. With Huaycar silent caution was 
the better part of valor just now. 

A distant rumble of voices did come 
to his ear, but the sliding feet of someone 
just below him made him sprint again 
up the great steps, and hard upon his 
heels came the rush of footsteps. As he 
burst up into the light, an arrow shot 
over his shoulder, and out upon the 
broad paving spewed a torrent of Ma- 
nabi warriors, mixed with the condor- 
symboled harness of the taller, renegade 
Cuzco men. 

Huaycar's score of warriors, sur- 
prised at the number and ferocity of the 
outspewing attack cast their spears, and 
at the short range near half of them 
found a mark in the bodies of the squat 
Manabi warriors. 

Flight was their only hope, and Huay- 
car was not the last as they legged it 
back across the rubble strewn wreckage 
of the great plaza that surrounded the 
Tunca Puncu, and dodged into the nar- 
row avenues of half-fallen walls back 



toward the Kalasasaya. 

Tumi Hayta, wishing to show his 
valor before the Masked One, had him- 
self led the first rush of warriors up- 
ward, after their attempted capture of 
Huaycar had missed its first grasp. It 
was useless to hide now that Huaycar 
knew they waited at the bottom of the 
steps, was Tumi's thought in ordering 
the rush to make good their seizure or 
the death of Huaycar; but if he could 
have heard The Masked One's great 
booming voice cursing him for his im- 
pulsive rush out into the light he would 
not have felt so proud of his courage. 
The Masked One sent an officer to order 
back the hundred or so men who had fol- 
lowed Tumi Hayta in his upward 
charge ; but the whole chase had crossed 
the plaza and were fighting and running 
down the rocky littered avenues toward 
the Sun Temple before he caught up 
with Tumi. 

Tumi Hayta returned to the dark 
chambers under the vast ruin to find 
himself not praised, but embarassingly 
reproved for his rash action. 

"It so happens that not too much 
harm has been done, since the Inca's 
watchers have seen but a short hundred 
men — which is about the number his 
spies have been led to believe await him 
here. But hereafter, when a decision 
like this of so much importance is to be 
made, consult me. Your action under 
different circumstances could have 
plunged all of us into defeat. You must 
realize, my little man, that only clever 
conniving can wrest the Inca's Empire 
from his grasp, and no sudden action 
like yours will ever do the trick. 'He is 
evidently suspicious, or he would not 
have sent his favorite, young Huaycar, 
to see what awaits him here." 

"It was hard to keep from following 
when the young coward fled so sud- 
denly. I expected to down him before 
he reached the exterior of the ruin; but 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



49 



he is young and swift, and twenty of his 
best warriors waited with spears at the 
swinging stone." 

"We cannot live by alibi. Death does 
not keep away for excuses, Tumi. Every 
move we make must be a planned move, 
not a blunder ! Never mind. We await 
his next move, and we do nothing, 
understand, nothing, until he ventures 
again down here where we have the ad- 
vantage of him. He is not one born 
yesterday, that Inca of yours." 

\X7HEN Huaycar arrived back 
among the nobles and warriors, 
the thousand of the Inca force, there 
were no laughs at the expense of the 
score — who were no longer a score, hav- 
ing left a half dozen behind. 

The Inca looked at Huaycar's red and 
embarrassed face, saying. "Don't be 
ashamed of flight from five times the 
number; I am only sorry we did not 
expect just that to happen. We could 
have lined the ruined streets with sol- 
diers, and caught the whole lot of them 
between our arrows." 

Huaycar, stilling his hard breathing, 
said: "Panaca Tupa, there are more 
forces down there than rushed out. Even 
Tumi Hayta is not so big a fool as to 
send his whole force in a sortie like 
that. The fact that a hundred were 
seen, proves there are more men there 
than we thought— for the Lacuna told 
use there were but a hundred, hence 
there should have been but fifty at the 
most in the pursuit." 

"I think you are right. There were 
two Manabi to each man of Cuzco in 
that bunch. If the Masked One is 
planning what you suspect, he plans it 
very poorly. Call in all the fighting 
men you can get on short notice, and 
we will ready ourselves to take Tumi 
Hayta apart piece by piece, and the 
Tunca Puncu with him." 

Runners were sent now to every vil- 



lage within a day's march — and Huay- 
car figured that by tomorrow night their 
force would be doubled or tripled. 

The scouts and sentries of the 
Masked One, posted in the tower of 
the Tunca Puncu, posted in the empty 
buildings for a half-mile around the 
ruin, reported the sending of the mes- 
sengers. The Masked One waited no 
more, for he saw the prize slipping 
through his fingers. Cursing the neces- 
sity of venturing his all upon an in- 
creasingly risky venture, he ordered an 
attack upon the Kalasasaya 

So it was that out of the tunnel 
beneath the ancient pile now poured a 
stream of squat Manabi warriors, rank 
on rank, steadily for half a day. Mid- 
afternoon saw some twenty thousand 
disciplined fighting men advancing 
upon the ruined Sun Temple by every 
broad avenue, and by every narrow 
street of meaner ruins. The Inca was 
surrounded! 

The warriors from Cuzco tore up the 
stones of the temple terrace — a space 
about five hundred feet by four hun- 
dred — and built breastworks between 
the surrounding columns. Their sit- 
uation was not good, though the temple 
terrace rose above the surrounding ter- 
rain by some ten feet and the impro- 
vised breastworks between the tall pil- 
lars gave them protection; still they 
could be attacked from three sides, and 
from the fourth were only partly pro- 
tected by the Temple itself. 

The squat, big-chested Manabi war- 
riors advanced steadily to long arrow 
range, and poured over the breastworks 
a gradually increasing shower of ar- 
rows. Under cover of this fire, the 
heavier armored warriors advanced to 
the assault of the terrace. These, their 
armor consisting of cotton quilting in 
layers; of broad wooden shields and 
long lances; at their wrists hanging the 
war axes of stone, of obsidian, and of 



50 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



silver and bronze; the obsidian edged 
wooden maquahuitl (which was near as 
deadly as a sword) ; wooden leg- 
greaves; bronze, gold and silver hel- 
mets topped the more well-to-do of the 
Manabi; the nobles and the officers 
who were in the favor of the Masked 
One. The whole press were painted in 
bright colors in startling stripes, dots 
and weird designs. The metal 
helmets were shaped like the heads of 
jaguars, of eagles and of bears. It was 
as gaudy and terrifying an assembly 
as Huaycar had ever seen, on former 
campaigns of the Inca. 

pANACA TUPA, now equipped in 
full armor — wooden greaves on his 
legs, the quilted armor covering him to 
his knees, the golden champi swining 
in his hand, which was his badge of 
office as well as a nicely balanced and 
well-built weapon, and topped by a 
glittering golden helmet which fiercely 
displayed the condor's beak and 
covered his face to the nostrils 
— was snorting with the excite- 
ment of the first action he had man- 
aged to get into in over two years. To 
Huaycar's constant concern for him he 
only growled, "Let 'em come, they're 
only ten to one. Since when did a man 
of Cuzco admit he couldn't kill ten 
Manabi!" 

"But, my ruler, the whole object of 
the Masked One's attack is just to kill 
you — nothing else! That accomplish- 
ed, he will retreat at once; and from a 
distance proclaim Mama-Anac the 
ruler and Tumi Hayta the new Inca 
by her orders. Then he will march 
on Cuzco and half at least of the nobles 
will join his forces out of love for 
Mama-Anac. That is the sole pur- 
pose. Don't show yourself — and we 
can hold out for a day or two till the 
men we have sent for arrive and start 
trouble for him from his rear. They 



will get word to Cuzco, and perhaps 
will penetrate his lines and bring us 
food and weapons. We have of ar- 
rows not enough for more than a day 
of fighting, as you well know. If you 
must fight, fight as one of us without 
that condor helmet and gold mace. 
They are more famous than your own 
face, you big-headed . . . may Man- 
co Kapac send his spirit to watch over 
you, certainly I can't unless you listen 
tome!" 

"Not for all the Manabi on the 
western coast will I doff this helmet 
or drop this mace, and may the God of 
all timid people, Centeotl, watch over 
you today." 

That first charge brought the shout- 
ing Manabi up to the very top of the 
steep ten foot slope. The long lances 
thrusts picked off many, too many of 
the Inca warriors, but the Manabi 
could not close. What looked like a 
simple climb and a leap over the 
breastworks proved on closer approach 
to be an impossible feat; and every 
scrambling Manabi that shoved his 
ugly face to the top of the breastwork 
promptly got his skull split. The dead 
at the foot of the slope grew rapidly 
in numbers, and as fast as they scram- 
bled up the slope, they rolled down 
again, dead or dying or maimed. 

Above them all, PanacaTupa shouted 
and his mace plied as rapidly and as 
true as the most battle-hardened vet- 
eran in the ranks. At his side stood 
Huaycar, his eyes and his quick shield 
trying to catch the arrows that flew in 
a stream toward the Inca in time to 
intercept each one. 

The charge broke at last against 
their iron resistance, and the Manabi 
withdrew out of bow range to lick 
their wounds and to plan anew. 

The Inca had caught but one arrow 
in his forearm, but the shield that 
Huaycar bore beside him was a splin- 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



51 



tered wreck, bristling with arrows like 
a porcupine with quills. Huaycar 
showed this to the Inca. who wryly com- 
mended him on his quick eye, but 
showed no desire to keep his person 
less in evidence. 

They counted their dead, some hun- 
dred, and tended to their wounded. 
Night was approaching, and of their 
living number but some six hundred 
were fit to fight. Huaycar dreaded the 
night attack he was sure would come. 
Now they would be spread thinly along 
the near t ghteen hundred feet of 
breastwork, and another charge would 
surely break their line. Two more 
such attacks spelled sure doom, Huay- 
car knew — and looking at his Emperor, 
it was evident he knew it too. 

| OOKIXG out over the enemy filled 
landscape, a dread and a fore- 
boding of death filled Huaycar's breast. 
Tenderly he thought of little Alana 
waiting in the subterranean corridors 
beneath the Tunca Puncu — and him- 
self beleagured here and failing at the 
job of setting her free. What would 
be her fate did the Inca fall he well 
knew. It was not a good thing to 
think, for the customs of the Manabi 
are not such as can be thought of with- 
out loathing. And as he leaned 
against the great Gateway of the Sun 
looking out upon the setting splendor 
shining directly through the doorway 
in the single great stone, a little 
light far-off in the gathering dark- 
ness gleamed for an instant on the dis- 
tant hillside — and disappeared! In- 
stantly it reappeared, and again was 
swallowed by the dusk! Huaycar's 
heart leaped within him, for it was the 
fire signal of the Incan soldiery — and 
only fresh warriors of the Inca would be 
using that signal. Huaycar hissed ex- 
citedly to the Inca, hoping the too-near 
Manabi scouts would not notice the tiny 



flicker of light. The Inca swore a great 
oath as the light flashed again, and in- 
stantly with his own hands began to 
prepare the scorched cotton for the re- 
turn blaze, tearing up his own quilted 
armor to make the tiny fire needed, 
which Huaycar quickly stopped, seizing 
the tunic from a dead warrior to kindle 
the blaze. About the blaze, directly in 
the center of the Gateway of Inti, 
shielded from all points but that far 
hill's view by ponchos held by grate- 
ful warriors, gathered the wounded 
men, and hope sprang in their hearts 
as the swift interchange between the 
Inca and his distant forces took place. 
Completed, the light disappeared in- 
stantly into the gathering gloom. 

The Inca turned to the grim faces 
gathered about him, few of whom had 
been able to follow the rapid signal- 
ling. 

"I have told them to attack directly 
opposite the Tunca Puncu. It has but 
ten doors, and our own choice of posi- 
tions is all doors, it seems. They will 
drive through from behind the Tunca 
Puncu, take it if they can, we sortie 
from here to join them. Eh, how is 
that? Even at the forst, we retreat 
into the ancient palace of the Dead — 
and have our Mama-Anac again in our 
hands and our precious Masked One's 
plans are spiked! 

An old noble at the side of Huaycar 
raised his voice — a voice that by its 
firmness showed the grim experience of 
old campaigns when this Inca whom he 
served had been a babe in arms. 

"I have been silent, all this time, 
while you got us into this fix, my re- 
vered Emperor. But, as one whose life 
is now in peril, as well as the freedom 
of some two dozen noble sons and 
some five thousand retainers in my 
lands outside Cuzco, I think I have a 
right to make a suggestion." 

His rather ironical and contemptuous 



52 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



manner did not nettle the Inca. He 
knew he had it coming, and he turned 
to the old veteran, a rich man of royal 
blood himself, though of another line, 
saying : 

"Manco Mayta, my teacher you have 
long been, say your say." 

"Your present plan has not one, but 
two flaws! You have failed to pro- 
vide a means of drawing off the Masked 
One's forces from your line of attack. 
I would suggest a feinted sortie here to 
the east, and shortly after that one, a 
second feint to follow up here to the 
south. If he realizes the first attack 
is but a feint, he will be sure the second 
is the real attack and will fling at 
once his whole force against the sec- 
ond. Both of these are but simple 
good tactics — suicidal to those who par- 
ticipate, perhaps— but quite necessary 
to draw off his overwhelming strength 
from your real attempt to reach shelter 
within the Tunca Puncu and there have 
the walls to protect you till more com- 
plete reinforcements arrive." 

The Inca pondered for a moment, and 
slowly his proud head lowered in shame, 
for what the old man said made of him- 
self a tyro in appearance. - 

"I am a fool, my friend. Here, take 
this mace. I am unworthy to bear it 
longer." 

"Nay, my Emperor, but hereafter I 
would appreciate a more close attention 
in yourself to such old heads on young 
shoulders as young Huaycar — who di- 
vined all along this whole thing was but 
a trap for your person. And a more 
close attention to such warriors as my- 
self who have by battle experience 
proved themselves worthy of a place at 
your side in all counsels which may lead 
to the risk of their own heads. One 
does not like another's thoughtlessness 
to cost one's own life when a few words 
would have saved the whole affair. Now 
that even an Inca has proved himself 



not all-wise, let us all forget this inci- 
dent — for we all love you, Panaca Tupa, 
but in some ways you have badly neg- 
lected your opportunities. One of those 
ways is in the study of tactics from 
ancient has-beens like myself." 

'""THE Inca, his fore-arm bandaged, 
his helmet on his arm dented, his 
mace still bloody from recent struggle, 
looked at the oldster like a spanked 
child, the corners of his mouth drawn 
down slightly, his eyes doleful. 

"May Supay devour me if I ever 
allow your white head to be out of my 
sight again, if only to escape the shame 
of another such deserved calling down! " 

The laughter at the Inca's bearing 
under the reproof lightened the strained 
atmosphere and the Inca went on. "And 
may the God of Idiots devour you if 
you ever keep your mouth closed again 
when I need it open and talking— do 
you hear! Do you think I am too 
proud to listen?" The warriors pressed 
closer about the two to hear. 

Old Manco Mayta grinned a yellow- 
fanged grin at his emperor, such a grin 
as only the privileged dare give an Em- 
peror, saying: "You had better spend 
your time preparing this next blood- 
letting carefully, for upon it depends 
the whole fate of the Inca nation as 
well as my own worthless life, my Inca." 
The old man, with this parting shot, 
turned and went to the breastwork, 
where he curled up on his poncho to 
await the next need for activity. At his 
age one needed rest to keep up with 
the young bloods. 

"Huaycar . . ." began the Inca, but 
the young priest was not to be taken 
again in the net of the Inca's impulsive- 
ness. 

"Oh no, you don't. I am staying by 
your side to keep you alive, as the old 
man says — our heads depend upon it. 
Some other can lead the feinting sorties, 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



53 



not myself. Wisdom is needed here, not 
my own youthful intelligence. Smart as 
I may be, only your most experienced 
warriors can come through such a job 
alive. And only myself realizes the ne- 
cessity fully of protecting you, for the 
whole plan of the Manabi's dark ruler 
depends on your death." 

The Inca growled under his breath; 
but as other leaders in difficulty have 
found it necessary to swallow their 
pride as well as a few digs, he too 
obeyed the youthful Huaycar and se- 
lected from those about him the two 
best fitted officers for the feints old 
Manco Mayta had recommended. 

At moonrise, an hour later, they were 
ready; and none too soon, for the dark 
line of the Manabi front had ap- 
proached nearer in the darkness — was 
obviously readying for a new charge, 
protected by the darkness. The moon, 
a thin silver crescent, did not appre- 
ciably lessen the darkness. 

The first party of fifty seasoned war- 
riors leaped the stacked slabs of the 
parapet and charged, screaming insults 
as to the origin of the whole Manabi 
race. As the first impetus of their charge 
dissolved into a howling melee, the sec- 
ond wave, two hundred more, leaped the 
parapet, and with vast noise and ap- 
parent intent to wipe out forever every 
living enemy of the Incan ruler — sprang 
across the bloody, dead-littered plain at 
right angles to the first sortie. 

Four minutes later the remaining six 
hundred, a third of which were seriously 
wounded, slipped over the parapet on 
the opposite side and silently, stooping 
low, raced northwest directly toward 
the great shadow of the Tunca Puncu. 
Even as they flung themselves into the 
dark line of Manabi before them, a 
tiny signal fire sparkled briefly from the 
dark, squat tower of the Palace of the 
Dead, telling them that at least the sur- 
face portion of the Tunca Puncu was in 



the hands of the new-come Incan sol- 
diery. 

piERCE, bloody, hand-to-hand fight- 
ing it was; axe against axe, brawn 
against brawn, savagery against sav- 
agery. The Manabi, a shorter race than 
the Incan Quichuas, were yet sturdier 
of limb and were no mean antagonists. 
The Incans' lives depended on the 
swiftness with which they covered that 
mile between the terrace of the Sun 
Temple and the dark, ancient Palace of 
the forgotten Bearded Ones. Half the 
distance covered, their progress halted. 
The Manabi had erected a low barri- 
cade of building rocks across the end 
of the avenue. Beyond lay the open 
plain clear to the Tunca Puncu, but 
across the street up which the Inca and 
his forces raced desperately, was a 
solid bank of Manabi a dozen deep, the 
long lances a forest of death, them- 
selves a solid rank of shields behind. 
It was break through the living wall or 
die, and their hearts sank with sight 
of the impossible task. Behind the 
Inca, Huaycar heard old Mayta mut- 
tering — and paused to bend his head 
and listen, for the old man's breath 
was gone. "Give them every last ar- 
row from the quivers, then advance and 
seize their spears in your hands. Not 
a charge; just a slow advance so that 
the stab can be avoided and the spear 
head seized. Pull the spears to you 
hand-over-hand. They will either re- 
lease thern or come along to be maced 
to death. Turn the spears upon them 
then, and drive home. Do it right, 
and you can make it. Do it wrong, we 
all die here, and the Quichua will learn 
to speak Manabi and our women will 
bear Manabi children. Do you want 
Alana to have bow-legged, hairy chil- 
dren? The Masked One has seen her, 
she will belong to him." 

A fury arose in Huaycar which swept 



54 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



away all his caution, all fear of the 
Inca's pre-eminence. Tn a loud voice 
— calculated so that not a Cuzco man 
would miss the meaning, but the Ma- 
nabi would fail to understand the idiom 
— he detailed the old warrior's plan to 
them. 

As one man, the fore ranks fell to 
iheir knees, swung forward their quiv- 
ers, and steadily all fired upon the dark 
ranks of the Manabi until every quiver 
was empty. The solidity of the dark 
mass visibly lessened under the concen- 
trated fire, but they had not a shaft 
left among them. 

They tossed aside their bows and 
now sprang forward, stopping just 
short of the line of bronze spearheads, 
first one, then another, tempted a 
thrust by starting forward, dancing 
back as the long lances reached for 
them only to be seized by another, 
watching and ready. Once seized, a 
half-dozen hands grasped the spear 
shaft, and pulled head-over-heels the 
luckless warrior from behind the barri- 
cade. 

''Just like trout from the stream." 
exulted Huaycar. "Like shooting fish 
in a cask, aye" grinned Mayta at the 
simple, effective strategy. From be- 
hind the lancers, flung bronze hatchets 
dropped some few Incans, and a few 
well-directed arrows pierced the quilted 
armor. There were now but half the 
six hundred with them; and those sore 
wounded. 

They would have won through, and 
the Inca was bellowing the battle cry 
for the last desperate all-out charge; 
they might have hammered this stub- 
born barrier of bow-legged Manabi flesh 
into blood and bones before them; had 
no: there arisen before them at that 
moment a frightful apparition! 

From among the squat and weary 
warriors retreating stubbornly before 
them, a wide lane appeared among the 



Manabi as they were shoved right and 
left by powerful, too-long arms, came 
the Masked One — the Son of Death, 
he called himself. He truly looked it 
now, h i s great head encased in the 
golden, horrific mask, the false mouth 
tusked and snarling, the hinged jaw 
opening with his fierce breath — and in 
the two round eyeholes the red flicker- 
ing rage from within was a fire of doom. 
A fire of fear that struck every brave 
man that looked upon him with strange 
awe. that shivering terror that only the 
supernatural, suddenly made manifest, 
can bring. 

{""\UT before the shattered remnants 
of the slaughtered barrier of flesh 
he had built so carefully to stop their 
last effort at escape stalked this door- 
wide figure, his battle harness all gleam- 
ing gold like his fearfully wrought hel- 
met, one ape-strong arm swinging a 
great two-bladed bronze axe, and in his 
other hand a heavy too-long maqua- 
huitl that no other warrior would have 
attempted to handle with two hands. 
Thus doubly armed, h i s immense, 
twisted and unhuman limbs terrifying 
in their weirdly sudden appearance be- 
fore them, stalked The Masked One. 
Here was the feared, mysterious leader 
of the Manabi, whom his followers be- 
lieved to be a son of the Lord of the 
Underworld, the son of the Death-God 
himself! 

"Meet me, braggart Kapac Tupa, 
you who falsely hold the title Yupanqui 
Inca — meet me or forever be branded 
coward and unfit to lead any man to 
battle." 

In the Incan code of honor there was 
no other course open to the Inca; for 
all rulers must first prove their valor 
and worth to lead brave men upon the 
battlefield before they are even con- 
sidered claimants to the throne. They 
must likewise keep this reputation for 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



55 



courage untarnished or an election 
among the nobles would create a suc- 
cessor; a successor whom all men who 
hold courage and honor dear would 
choose automatically as their ruler. The 
Inca did not hesitate, for to hesitate 
here would be as final as an abdication. 
As his men drew back, as the Manabi 
lowered their weapons, the Inca stalked 
forward toward this apparition of su- 
perhuman ugliness, his hairy limbs look- 
ing to Kapa Tupa like the limbs of some 
spider, the frightful golden masking 
helmet like nothing so much as his own 
skull, not far in the future. 

It was this meeting which Huaycar 
had dreaded — and knew The Masked 
One would bring about if he could — for 
no such warrior had ever appeared, no 
warrior so capable and so strong among 
the Incas or their neighbors for cen- 
turies, if all reports about him were 
true. 

The Inca, armed only with his golden 
mace in his right hand, and a heavy 
round target of wood in the other, 
closed with the fearful figure cautiously, 
knowing that one square blow from 
either of the weapons in the huge hands 
of the monster would be his end. 

The Masked One whirled up the 
double bladed axe and sent it crashing 
down upon the Inca's helmet; but the 
Inca caught it on slanted shield, flung 
the blow aside and countered with a 
roundhouse swing of the heavy mace, 
directed square at the center of the wide 
bulk. The Inca was well trained and 
canny, knew that a blow at his wind 
would cripple him more than to break 
an arm. The Masked Horror caught 
the mace on his broad maquahuitl, 
grunting with the force as he parried 
the blow, and the mace shot past his 
belly. 

Still carrying the momentum of its 
original swing, the Inca arced the mace 
up and around and down upon the great 



gold mask. The hairy arm carrying the 
axe got the thick haft of his axe under 
the down swing of the mace. The haft 
splintered as the mace slid down the 
length of it to smash against the great 
fist. » 

The monster howled with pain, and 
the axe chopped in a short arc forward 
into the Inca's fiercely grinning face. 

r "PHE Inca's round shield broke the 
force of the blow, but the sharp 
blade drew blood as it touched his chin 
with the last spent force. Without pause 
the sword-like maquahuitl whirled in 
from the side and again the target in 
the Inca's hand c,aught the blade, but 
it bounded from the shield in a glancing 
blow to his leg. The Inca gave a cry 
of pain. His knee would never be the 
same! Supay would have this hairy 
son of his back in short order, if a curse 
could do it. 

In a red haze of anger, the Inca 
whirled the heavy mace in alternate 
continuous back hand and forehand. 
The giant, squat figure gave ground 
steadily, the fierce, unnatural glow 
within his helmet flickered as he ducked 
and parried, parried and ducked, the 
inescapable golden head of the big ham- 
mer; a hammer with one end a razor- 
edged axe. 

Huaycar was astounded that the Inca 
could give trouble to the huge Masked 
Horror. He had often watched the 
Emperor in desultory practice, but had 
never seen him in battle before. He 
realized now that all the praise of his 
battle prowess was not flattery, by far. 

But the Inca was weary with the 
long leg-pounding drive from the Sun 
Temple through the death-laden ruins; 
was ready for rest before they had even 
seen the Masked One. The huge figure 
was fresh, unwearied, had not before 
raised weapon that night. 

The steady arc and swing of the 



56 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Inca's shining weapon slowed. He 
paused and took the defensive. 

Time was dragging on. They could 
not wait, for they heard footsteps of 
approaching men of the Masked One 
grow ever more frequent. They would 
be surrounded. 

Honor be damned, the Masked One 
was merely delaying the fight, taking no 
chances, waiting till they were sur- 
rounded fully, when his arrows would 
plunge among them. Huaycar took de- 
cision again into his hands, shouted at 
the top of his young lungs: "We are 
cheated, the Manabi advance behind 
us to take us. Forward!" 

Realizing they were allowing the code 
of the warriors to dupe them all to 
death, the Inca's warriors swung their 
maquahuitls, their axes, lifted their 
short-bladed stabbing spears of bronze, 
lanced forward between the Inca and 
his opponent. The Inca cursed them all 
as they swept him on through the now 
open ranks of the Manabi — and the 
suddenness of their advance gave them 
freedom. Two-score men died before 
their sudden flashing blades and they 
were through. The great plaza of the 
Tunca Puncu lay empty before them, 
and in the squat tower blazed the fire 
of the Inca signal men. 

Their feet pounded now hopefully, 
behind them the bowlegged Manabi ran 
hard, but their short legs were not built 
to catch the slender limbs of the men 
of Cuzco in a race. 

They sprinted into the dark shadows 
of the great southern doorway of the 
Place of Ten Doors, and into the arms 
of a mass of shouting warriors, and 
nothing was ever so glad a sight as the 
little shoulder-symbol Condor Heads of 
Gold that marked the armor of the 
Inca's army. Nothing so good as to 
hear around them good round Quichua 
wurds instead of the dog-barking of 
the Manabi tongue. 



As Huaycar leaned wearily against 
the great round pillars of the huge door- 
way, a flying little bundle of soft flesh, 
of weeping and laughing and talking all 
at once, of sweet smelling hands caress- 
ing his face, of welcoming lips upon his- 
own, of flying hair that insisted on cov- 
ering his eyes, of clinging limbs that 
somehow climbed upon him until he was 
holding her like a mother holds a child 
— all flung themselves upon Huaycar 
out of the darkness. 

Among other things, Alana said: "I 
never thought I would be so glad to see 
anybody as your own battle-gloomy 
face and tall, too-attractive self. I 
never knew till now how much I loved 
you! Huaycar, never let me go again, 
never, never! That monster, The 
Masked Ape of Hell oh! He looked 
and looked at me, and his men laughed, 
knowing what he meant to do with me. 
I'll never tell you, not I! Oh, poor 
Mama-Anac, she fainted every time he 
crossed her vision, the poor woman has 
been unconscious half the time. She 
has, honest to Inti, she has! The only 
reason I didn't pass out, I was afraid 
too, for fear of what might have hap- 
pened to me when I woke up and me 
not know I was dead. It's a dreadful 
feeling, not knowing when they're going 
to kill you, day after day. That Tumi 
Hayta, the snake. Kill him before this 
is over, Huaycar; kill him deader than 
this old hole Tiahuanaco, for me." 

AS HUAYCAR got the hair and 
kisses out of his eyes for the first 
time, he saw that Yupanqui Inca was 
likewise engaged with the more rotund 
Mama-Anac, and seemingly very happy 
about it. 

Little Alana's voice went right on, 
telling everything at once, with ges- 
tures and kisses and words all inter- 
mingled. 

"When the men came from Hualla 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



57 



and Chawin and the other villages and 
gathered on the hill of Tiaspnac over 
there, and got the Inca's signal and 
came here, they found the old door to 
the down-stairs guarded by only two 
sentries. They killed them and sneak- 
ed down into the underground, and now 
they hold the tunnel that the Manabi 
came here through, that nobody knew 
about but that musty old side-of-a-barn, 
the Masked One — and he is one who 
knows all about the underworld, having 
come from there anyway! They drove 
the soldiers he left to hold the tunnel 
up the tunnel, and are holding them 
there — and tell me, how are those ugly 
Manabi going to get home?" 

Grimly the Inca, overhearing the 
chattering, sweet voice, answered: 
"They will get home as spirits, little 
Alana. Just spooks, that's all. With- 
in two days there will not be one of all 
that force alive, I swear it!" 

CHAPTER VI 

'"THE Masked One was a raging fury. 
He realized that now his escape tun- 
nel was blocked, the whole barrier of 
the mighty Andes cut him off from his 
own trackless forests and safety. He 
knew that but two days or so more 
would bring from Cuzco the vast 
strength of the Incan army. That his 
time was running out — that whatever 
luck he may have had was now only 
bad. 

That fury he expended in assault 
upon assault upon the immovable walls 
of the massive Tunca Puncu. Those 
cyclopean slabs of rock, pierced by ten 
great doorways, saw fiercer fighting 
now, in the dull days of their ruin, than 
ever they had seen in the period when 
they had been the mighty home of a 
greater race than the Inca's hordes. 

Fruitless, hopeless assaults they were, 
marked by the death of the brave 



strength of the squat courageous people 
who called The Masked One their Lord. 

Each of those ten doors was racked 
by a continuous shower of the short, 
red arrows of the Manabi, and under 
that canopy of arrow fire, the warriors 
charged again and again — to be flung 
back by the savagely plied axes, spears 
and maquahuitls of the men of Cuzco. 

The day wore on, and after each 
bloody attempt the Manabi withdrew, 
seemingly convinced of the futility of 
piling their dead before those sombre, 
age-old portals. A curse was on the 
place, they muttered, it was protected 
by the Holy Dead who were punishing 
the Manabi for their profaning of the 
Place of the Dead. 

Night came again, and the silver 
crescent of the moon rode peacefully 
over the bloody scene; the moans of the 
dying before the ten doors; the cry of a 
hunting jaguar among the far ruins; 
and the fierce mocking calls of the In- 
cans to the hovering army of the 
Masked One to come and be killed. 

Day again, and the watch in the squat 
tower of the Tunca Puncu reported that 
the dawn-fire signals along the Incan 
highway had stated the army from 
Cuzon would arrive sometime soon after 
noon. 

Themselves had lost men, sheltered 
though they were behind the thick walls, 
the fresh thousand plus their own five 
hundred who had lived through the 
flight from the Kalasasaya now joined 
within the ancient place, numbered 
again among the living but a few more 
than the thousand. Nearly a thousand 
warriors had died in defense of the 
Inca, and of the Masked One's horde, 
one guessed but half remained, for his 
losses were ghastly. 

With the sun's advent, the fruitless 
assault began again, the whistling ar- 
rows fell among the warriors at the 
doors like rain, and their own arrows, 



58 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



hoarded desperately, were now held 
against the last resort. 

This morning the wide and terrifying 
figure of the Masked ruler led the as- 
sault in person. He had heard from 
his own scouts of the nearing, over- 
whelming force of men on the march 
from Cuzon, knew that it was now or 
never with him. 

A long crescent of bow-twanging war- 
riors ringed each of the ten doors of the 
Tunca Puncu ; a crescent that tried con- 
tinually to close tight and crush in upon 
the beleaguered Inca warriors — and 
failed. Their steadily raining arrows 
took a deadly toll of the decreasing 
strength of the defenders; but the 
Tunca Puncu was built to perfection for 
their need. Ten men could hold each 
door against an army equipped as these; 
and the greater part of the constant 
flight of arrows they caught on shield, 
or spent themselves in the thickness of 
the quilted armor over their thighs. 

A T THE huge central portal of the 
ancient palace the greatest number 
of Manabi concentrated; and it was 
here that the mighty and frightening 
ugliness of the Masked One boomed 
his battle cry, and led his chosen in 
charge after charge against the de- 
fenders only to bring up short against 
the lances of the Incan nobles. 

That deep frog voice of the Masked 
One rolled steadily, reviling the Inca, 
Kapac Tupa, for a coward and poltroon, 
one who dared not meet again the one 
who had yesterday nearly killed him; 
meet him in honorable combat. To his 
repeated challenge the Inca derisively 
jeered his answer, that soon his horde 
would be laid low and that then he 
would meet the Masked One where his 
own forces would insure fair play and 
no tricks from the lying braggart who 
claimed what was an obvious lie — that 
he was a relative of the Supernatural 



Lords of the Underworld of the Dark; 
that he himself was immortal, here on 
earth only for amusement. Which 
obviously was not true, as the Masked 
One was not enjoying himself, but ap- 
peared to be in great trouble and per- 
plexity, and could get none of his plans 
to come right! For that matter, it 
could be true that the Gods of the Dark 
had tired of his bombast, and had sent 
him to earth, and it was kind of them, 
for he, Kapac Tupa, was enjoying the 
affair immensely. 

At the close of each of these inter- 
changes of mutual insults, the Masked 
One would go into a rage, and rush for- 
ward whirling his great two-bladed axe, 
only to be stopped by the out-thrust 
lances, or pinked by one of the few ar- 
rows the Cuzco men had left in their 
quivers. 

Huaycar, standing beside the Inca 
with his shield steadily catching arrows 
intended for the royal person, shivered 
at the raw power in the monster's limbs 
at each of these charges, and knew that 
did he manage to break their defense not 
a man would live, slaughter would be 
short and complete. 

After each raging charge, the Masked 
One and his bow-legged crew would 
withdraw, taunting them all for cow- 
ards, women afraid to come out and 
fight, and time and again Huaycar drew 
back the Inca from accepting his chal- 
lenge. 

Inti, the sun, rose steadily higher, 
stood at last directly overhead. The 
watch in the tower of the Tunca Puncu 
called down that the gleam of weapons 
and the color of the head plumes of the 
armies of the Inca, coming at the trot, 
were in sight on the great highway. 

The Masked One, too enraged to con- 
sider flight, made one last desperate 
attempt to win again the safety of the 
mighty ancient stone walls of the Tunca 
Puncu — and the escape through his 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



59 



no-longer secret tunnel. 

Placing his men in a long column be- 
fore the huge main door, protecting 
their front with a solid rank of shields, 
he tried to crush through the door by 
main force, regardless of the death of 
his men the plan entailed. 

In plunged the head of the huge spear 
of flesh and flashing axe heads, of gaudy 
shields splitting against the lances of 
the Inca's, who ground the butts of the 
hafts and let the Manabi impale them- 
selves upon the bronze points, only to 
replace the entangled spears with new, 
a little further inward. Steadily the 
awful crush pushed in . . . in. The 
screams of the dying were a terrible 
sound of death agony, rising higher and 
higher as the Manabi trampled inward, 
driven by the fear of the now visible 
approaching column of soldiery from 
Cuzco, driven by the horrible shouts of 
their leader, whose terrible axe steadily 
hewed a path for them through the 
bodies of the Incan warriors. Back, 
back, the battle was now in the deep 
gloom of the interior of the temple, the 
defense was broken, and spreading out 
within the vast chamber from the great 
central doorway, the Manabi were 
swiftly evening the score, tipping the 
scales of death, with steadily plying 
axes and maquahuitls herding the hard 
pressed Quichua warriors, before them. 
And ever over the heads of the foremost 
showered the short red arrows of the 
stumpy Manabi bowmen. Back, back 
into the inner chambers of the ancient 
house of the long dead. 

JZ" APAC TUPA, seeing at the last mo- 
ment his triumph over this gold- 
masked horror slipping from his grasp, 
called an order, and his words, picked 
up by his desperately fighting men, 
were shouted again and again through 
all the hard pressed line, giving for each 
backward step its exacted payment of 



blood, and paying steadily with wounds 
and death for the privilege. 

"To the tunnel — to the tunnel — down 
through the turning stone!" 

Suddenly all resistance ceased and 
the last few hundred Incan warriors 
turned as one man and sprinted for the 
gaping opening in the great central 
chamber which led to the Masked One's 
tunnel under the Andes to his own land 
on the coast. 

About the dark hole they formed 
again, a solid square of wooden shields, 
of ready maquahuitls, of flickering lance 
thrusts. Nearly every man of them 
wounded, and each conscious of the loss 
of brother and comrade — they were a 
sight to strike terror to stronger hearts 
than the Manabi, who are fishermen 
first, forest hunters next, and warriors 
last of all. 

"We hold here to the death ! " shouted 
the Inca; and from each throat a roar 
answered him: "To the death." And 
the echos of the word: Huanacu, death, 
rang and rang through the great stone 
chambers with an awful message of 
doom. Tiahuanacn, the place of the 
dead, and Huanacu, that day were well- 
mated words, for death was everywhere, 
sprawled and bleeding. Crushed heads 
and gashed limbs lay before the great 
Ten Doors in heaps four deep; were 
scattered singly and in groups every- 
where across the great chambers 
through which they had fought to the 
gaping opening which was the escape- 
way of the Masked One, and which he 
would never enter again except over 
their dead bodies. 

That cheer's echoing HUANACU! 
reached even to the ears of the ap- 
proaching Inca army, and was taken 
up by ten thousand throats as they 
broke into double time and came into 
the great City of the Dead on the loping, 
Incan ground-eating run. 

"Huanacu! huanacu!" rang and rang 



60 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



in the struggling Manabi ranks like the 
knell of doom, like the cry of the Death 
Bird come for their spirits, like the 
creak of the Gates of Haek-Pachac, 
opening to admit their evil souls to 
Hell — and nearer and nearer came the 
cry as the armies from Cuzco deployed 
to surround the Temple of the Past. 
"The Tunca Puncu was to be their 
Huanacu Pampa of Ten Doors," 
shouted the foremost ranks of the Incan 
soldiery as they cut down the rear-most 
of the Manabi still struggling to force 
themselves into the already jammed 
mass of men within the Tunca Puncu. 

About the turning stone a ring of 
dead had fallen and lay bleeding, and 
over their bodies they fought on, the 
raging axe of the Masked One rising 
and falling as though he were in truth 
the Lord of the Realm of Death; and 
the smaller Manabi Maquahitls flick- 
ered and flickered in short quick blows, 
parried by the longer, harder striking 
Incan weapons, though their line of 
living was now pitifully thin and closing 
steadily nearer and nearer to the gaping 
hole that meant freedom for the Masked 
One, and which they had pledged to 
die before he reached. As each man 
fell, their ring tightened, and shoulder- 
to-shoulder they faced the swarming, 
maddened Manabi, hampered by their 
own numbers and the jamming fright- 
to-escape which crushed them ever 
against the laboring weapons that slew 
and slew as they were pushed close. It 
was a sickening butchery, and one they 
deserved, but Huaycar somehow pitied 
these earnest, bowlegged, hardfighting 
Manabi — misled by their frightful 
"Masked One" into this impasse from 
which they would not escape! 



U 



SING the same tactic the Masked 
One had used, the massed shields 
of the fresh Inca soldiery crushed in- 
ward through the great central door, 



their fresh cries of "For the Inca" and 
"Huanacu" striking a terrible terror 
into the Manabi, who now saw their de- 
feat was inevitable, and began to pour 
from out the other nine doors in a 
steady stream only to be cut down by 
the longer-legged Incan soldiers who 
quickly overtook them and covered the 
plaza of the Tunca Puncu with more 
dead. Here and there a fleeing Manabi 
could be seen clambering the far slopes 
of the Hanca Pira hill with a tall 
Quichua hard after and his far land 
across the Andes obviously a false hope 
which he would never reach. 

Inside, the now despairing Manabi 
flung themselves upon the weapons of 
the Incan warriors suicidally, and swift- 
ly the horde of the Manabi became a 
thousand; and then but a hundred men 
remained, the best armored, better- 
weaponed nobles who made up the inner 
circle of the Masked One's council. 
These ringed him in defense. It was his 
last stand, and theirs, and they meant to 
make their deaths count, but were not 
to be given the chance. The Incan of- 
ficers brought fowling nets, and cast 
over them in sixes and sevens, pulling 
them to the floor and bount them. At 
the last the Golden-Masked and hairy- 
limbed monstrosity stood alone, his 
great axe bursting the nets flung upon 
him, his huge legs still free — his mask 
turning oddly as he watched for the 
next attack, the eyeholes emitting that 
red glow of rage that was so mystifying 
and awe inspiring. 

Kapac Tupa called off his men and 
they retreated from the great cornered 
beast that had been king — and toward 
him stalked the Inca, his golden mace 
aswing in his right hand, and this time 
in his left hand a heavy hardwood 
maquahitl which he figured better suited 
to parry and block the double-weaponed 
attack than the too easily shattered 
standard shield. 



THE TUNCA PUNCU NUGGET 



61 



"It is more than he deserves — why 
let him have the opportunity?" called 
Huaycar to the Inca. But the Inca 
only growled back, his usually gentle 
and almost scholarly face, after all this 
blood and struggle and death, a streaked 
and furious mask of war-fury. "Let 
me have my fun, you ninny! "and 
Huaycar shut his mouth . 

The combat, interrupted in their 
flight from the Kalasasaya, continued 
where it had left off; both men now 
equally wearied, both wounded more 
than once, and both filled with a rage 
that would be satisfied only with death. 

The Golden Mask lifted and 
seemed to light with some flicker of 
hope of revenge. The huge limbs 
tightened their ropy muscles, the great 
axe swung, whirled up — and the 
Masked One leaped upon the Inca as 
leaps the hunting spider on its prey. 

Kapac Tupa caught the axe haft on 
the heavy maquahuitl, shoved it aside to 
whistle past his shoulder, strike a foun- 
tain of sparks as the long arc of the 
blade touched the stones of the floor. 
His counter blow was only partly par- 
ried, put a great dent in the golden 
helmet — and the Mask's maquahuitl 
flashed in a black, whirling counter. 
waist high. 

Square on the massive head of his 
mace the Inca caught the blow, the 
maquahuitl spun from the Mask's grasp 
and flew thirty feet into the air, falling 
into the great niche where the red-eyed 
and awesome state of the Creator-of- 
All squatted, staring unmoved down at 
the mad interlopers who cluttered up 
his peaceful gloom with their mad rage 
for death. 

Fair, the Inca tossed aside his 
own maquahuitl and faced the Mask 
with his mace against the great two 
bladed war axe. The Gold Champi 
against the massive bronze with all its 
weight and heft. 



'"THEY went at it hammer and parry, 
duck and swing — a vicious, expert 
performance of the ancient art of blood- 
letting, a demonstration fully worthy 
of the many courageous, veteran eyes 
awatch. 

Both bled now from arm wounds 
where they had failed to catch the 
full stroke of a blow on haft or head; 
both gasped for breath, and the blur- 
ring, arcing blows slowed, became 
shorter, more carefully directed at- 
temps to kill. 

The Mask was fighting only to kill 
the Inca, and had no hope on earth of 
any other thing did he win or lose but 
death. The Inca was fighting for God 
knows what intricate self-made code of 
honor — to give this opponent his full 
chance with the Gods who rule the 
earth, perhaps. Was fighting to vent in 
full his rage at the plot against him by 
this man he hardly knew in any way, 
and who knew him only by hearsay. 

The great figure of the Mask was 
weary, but the power in his strokes was 
still crushing, and the Inca's knees bent 
as he caught those fearful strokes on 
his mace handle, holding it long be- 
tween his two hands to protect his 
head; to release with the left, swing 
in counter stroke, the massive figure 
ducking smoothly and countering. 
Stroke and stroke, sparks flew in show- 
ers as the blades met, and the dull 
thud of the haft on head of mace came 
steady and rhythmic. They were 
strangely, almost evenly matched; the 
Inca's quick flow of strength evened by 
the slower but stronger, as skillful han- 
dling of the heavy weapon, of the mas- 
sive Mask. 

Then, as the Mask struck a two- 
handed blow down upon the Inca's 
shining helmet, Kapac Tupa stepped 
wide and the axe showered bits of rock 
from the stone floor — and the Inca 
threw caution aside and leaped in close 



62 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



to those terrible arms and crashed the 
mace full into the grimming mask, 
crushing the whole horrible sculptured 
metal face. The stubby giant staggered 
back, tugging to get the mask free from 
his shattered face and blinded eyes, and 
the Inca followed with a wood-splitting, 
full-arcing blow upon the now defense- 
less head. The sharp leading edge of 
the heavy head of the Champi pierced 
full through the broad metal headgear 
and the giant toppled, fell sprawling, 
twitched and reached with his great 
hairy hands, moved his wide feet jerk- 
ily — and lay still, at last, in death! His 
blood formed a slowly widening pool 
around the bright ruin of his weird 
head-gear. The silence after the battle 



could have been cut with a knife. 

The Inca broke this awkward silence. 

"I always wondered what the freak 
really looked like." He moved wearily 
to the shattered globe that was the 
Mask's fallen head, tugged to get the 
helmet off. The Mask came off with 
little trouble, and the great figure rolled 
over. The hairy face, the thick red 
lips, the crushed bloody ruin of nose 
and eyes and forehead, were all there 
were to see. 

"He was but a man, like ourselves, is 
evident. Not any supernatural horror 
from the abyss below. Just a man, and 
not too clever, either, to fling himself 
against the might of the Inca Empire 
with but ten thousand men." 



FEMALE BLUEBEARD 
By PETE BOGG 



LET those who look longingly through the 
pages of the matrimonial journals beware! 
' There is a tale told (and substantiated) 
about a female Bluebeard — a woman of mys- 
terious powers and a peculiar attractiveness who 
lured and then disposed of an unknown number 
of unsuspecting men with the aid of such pub- 
lications. 

Someone should have tried warning her pros- 
pective husbands and victims, but there was no 
one capable of undertaking that duty — at first. 
For the people of LaPorte, Indiana, were only 
mildly curious about their new neighbor, the 
Widow Sorenson. The farm she purchased lay 
less than a mile out of town and consisted of a 
full forty-eight acres. They heard rumors that 
she was well-fixed financially with eight thou- 
sand dollars in life insurance and a few thousand 
more received from the sale of her home in Illi- 
nois. 

The portly widow arrived with her two chil- 
dren and Jennie Olson in the summer of 1901 
and amazed the truckers with her ability to 
juggle heavy boxes and crates. The Widow Soren- 
5on was no petite creature and, from all outward 
appearances, far from delicate. She was five feet 
>even inches tall and weighed two hundred 
pounds, most of which was pure brawn. 

It was not long before the community learned 
that this woman wanted to be left alone — and 
was capable of taking care of herself. An ex- 
perienced farmer, she could pitch hay, milk cows, 
and do her own butchering of hogs and calves. 
Meat from the Soiertson farm was sold in La- 
Porte. 



Hardly more than a year elapsed when a 
strange set of events began to occur. In April 
of 1902 she married Peter Gunness, a stranger to 
the community. All might have been well had 
the groom not come to an untimely end. After 
only seven months of wedded bliss, Mr. Gunness 
left this world for the next. The death blow was 
dealt by a sausage grinder that accidentally fell 
from a shelf, Mrs. Gunness explained to the 
coroner. But the widow was well provided for 
with a four thousand dollar policy and the peo- 
ple of La Porte ceased to think about the matter. 

The widow, now known as Belle Gunness, con- 
tinued to live modestly despite this new wealth. 
A son was born to her in 1903. A hired man was 
engaged to look after her place, but she herself 
was still active in the butchering of pigs and the 
caring of the garden. The farm help changed 
from time to time, but none of the men exerted 
any deep influence over Belle's life. A photograph 
of her at this time shows a squat, powerfully built 
woman with an exceedingly dull face. 

Although it was not known until later — Belle 
Gunness made frequent use of matrimonial jour- 
nals. She advertised in them regularly listing 
her desire for a good husband; she was not too 
coy regarding her own personality and qualifica- 
tions. What Belle wanted, it seemed, was a man 
of Scandinavian birth, preferably Norwegian, who 
was kind and honest and who would help a lov- 
able and hard-working widow to lift the mort- 
gage on her little farm. "Triflers," Belle's ad- 
vertisement said coldly, "need not apply." 

In 1906, a Mr. John Moo arrived in answer to 
(Continued on page 96) 



ORAL ODDITIES 

By LESLIE ANDERSON 



THE teeth which we brush so diligently 
every day have so captured the imagina- 
tion of men down through the ages that 
literally thousands of legends and curious super- 
stitions have sprung up concerning them. The 
power of the teeth to bring pain and anguish 
as well as to determine beauty and ugliness has 
focussed the attention on this part of the human 
anatomy to a much greater degree than that 
accorded the rest of the body. 

In the year 1865 a "professor" residing in 
Paris seriously taught that the characteristic per- 
sonality of a man could be found out by studying 
his teeth. He tried to prove that teeth perfectly 
in alinement were a sign of orderliness and mag- 
nanimity in the person under observation. Teeth 
which slanted toward the lips pointed to a passion 
for imitation and mockery. Those whose teeth 
bent inward toward the palate possessed the in- 
stinct and the impulse to do wrong. The "pro- 
fessor's" list of characteristics was long and 
detailed, but men of science have never taken his 
statements seriously enough to accord him recog- 
nition. This study of the teeth belongs in the 
same category as the reading of one's fortune in 
the wrinkles of the palm and the bumps on the 

head. 

* * * 

The early Romans thought that an infant born 
with a tooth was so remarkable that he should 
have a surname commemorating the oddity. The 
famous consul Manius Curius (250 B.C.) owed 
his surname "Dentatus" to the fact that several 
of his deciduous teeth had come through before 
he was born. 

On the other hand, the country people of Hun- 
gary are very suspicious of babies born with teeth. 
They believe these offspring to be changelings 
who shortly after their birth were exchanged by 
witches for the real children stolen by them and 
as a result are treated with general contempt. 

Much worse is the fate of such children in 
certain negro tribes in Africa. Among the Basutos, 
the women assisting at childbirth mercilessly kill 
each baby born with teeth (or any other de- 
formity) by drowning it in a pot of water. 

* * * 

At any time as far back as the history of 
mankind can be traced, at any epoch of civiliza- 
tion, and at any place where men live, very 
definite rules were, and are observed regarding 
the disposal of the children's "baby" teeth after 
they have dropped out. Although the traditional 
prescription varies slightly from one national 
group to another the basic act is this: When a 
milk tooth falls out, the child is supposed to throw 
it away over his shoulder backward, or over a 
roof, or into a mousehole, and ask a mouse, or a 
rat, or a squirrel, or a fox, or some other animal 



to take the tooth and give the child a better one 
in its place. 

* * * 

The ancients prized white healthy teeth as 
much as we do today, but adequate cleaning 
methods were unknown to many of them. Reg- 
ular dental hygiene wa« not practiced in Greece 
until the country was made a Roman province. 
Under the influence of their western neighbor, 
the Grecians learned how to use pumice, talcum, 
emery, granulated alabaster stone and coral 
powder for dentifrices. Iron rust, too, was 
recommended. 

The Romans themselves were not too particular 
what they ground into powder to use for teeth- 
cleaning purposes. Bones, hoofs, and horns of 
certain animals, crabs, egg shells, and oyster shells 
were pulverized by them after first being burnt 
and then mixed with honey. 

* * * 

Plant remedies as well as those obtained from 
animals were popular before the development of 
scientific dentistry. Garlic was one of the most 
popular remedies. The ancient Greeks considered 
a decoction of garlic together with aromatic resin- 
ous pine wood and incense helpful if kept in the 
mouth. 

* # * 

The most renowned example of honor accorded 
to a tooth is found in the history of the celebrated 
tooth of Buddha. Tracing the worship of this 
relic, a strange and, fantastic history is unearthed. 

In the temple of Kandy, India, there is assumed 
to exist, among other treasures of untold value, 
that most sacred and precious piece, the tooth of 
Buddha, which is esteemed with devotion by four 
hundred and fifty millions of people. It is said 
to be one of the four canine teeth of Gautama, 
which were among his seven great relics, and has 
been famous in Ceylonese Buddhism as the Dalada. 
Its miraculous preservation from every means 
taken to destroy it by a hostile Indian king, and 
its ultimate arrival in Ceylon in the year of 312 
reads like an exciting adventure story. The Chinese 
traveler Fa-hian describes the procession of the 
relic as he saw it in 403. In the thirteenth century 
Dhammakitti wrote a Pali poem about it, based 
on an older Singhalese work in prose named 
"Datha Vamsa." Once it was sold for many 
millions to the King of Burma. At a later time 
the Portuguese are believed to have crushed it 
into fragments and thrown it into the ocean, yet 
the Ceylonese preserved it at Kandy in a shrine 
in its original form and size, the size of a hippo- 
potamus' tooth ; it must be remembered that this 
tooth was not taken from a common mortal man's 
mouth but from the mouth of that worshiped 
superman, Buddha. 



63 







QUEST OF THE 
SPLIT MAP 



THE cab purred off into the eve- 
ning darkness, leaving Gregg 
Stacey alone on the curb. He 
wasted no- time lingering there. A street 
lamp several feet away enclosed him 
within its circle of illumination, made 
his figure too conspicuous. He wasn't 
certain yet that he hadn't been fol- 
lowed. 

Bending quickly, he gathered up his 
bags and strode across a stretch of lawn 
to the sidewalk. A short distance away, 
he sighted a broad, shadowed opening 
between two buildings, flanked by tall 
bushes. It was the entrance to a drive- 
way. He turned into it, stopping where 
the shadows were thickest. He couldn't 
be seen from the street, now. 

He set down his bags again, and 
pulled out his pipe. He began filling 
it from an oilskin pouch, watching the 



eier 



street, unable to shake off a feeling of 
unease that lay like a black, cold shad- 
ow on his mind. 

Cars passed frequently on the street. 
They went rapidly, going somewhere, 
not slowly as though looking for 
something. There were occasional pe- 
destrians, but they came and went with 
a definiteness that carried no hint that 
they might be searching. 

Finally, carefully, Gregg Stacey 
lighted his pipe. The match, flickering 
in his large, brown hand, illumined his 
face. It was a youthful face, broad, 
with a pleasantly wide mouth, and thick 
dark brows that almost met over the 
bridge of a short blunt nose. The eyes, 
narrowed intently over the pipe, were 
a clear candid blue, fringed heavily with 
dark lashes. They were quick, straight, 
intelligent eyes that many people would 



Men fought and died in search of the 
Alaskan bonanza, while only two people held 
the key — a split map that had to be matched 






•«w-^^K--^ ■■i.jrAw^n ■■;■ ...v. ;<&■>*£ 



'& m 



The two men struggled desperately on the edge of the cliff, with death yawning beneath, 

64 



as 



66 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



find disconcerting. An easy humor 
showed in the lines around his mouth 
and eyes, but they were deepened now 
by grimness and strain. He wore a 
belted tan gabardine trench coat over a 
gray tweed suit, and a brown felt hat, 
the brim of which had been pulled low 
over his forehead. 

The pipe going satisfactorily, Stacey 
resumed his watch of the street. He 
thought of the girl named Norma Red- 
dick, and impatience began to build up 
within him. Norma Reddick held the 
answer to the mystery that had brought 
Stacey to Seattle. She lived just around 
the corner, in the next block, if the cab 
driver who had brought Stacey here 
knew his directions. Stacey had given 
an address near the girl's, in case he 
might be followed. He hadn't wanted 
to lead pursuit directly to her, even 
though he had changed cabs twice since 
leaving the airport. 

XTORMA REDDICK wasn't entirely 
unknown to Stacey. He had seen 
her several times, the last being some 
ten years ago. when both were little 
more than kids. These meetings had 
taken place on the infrequent occasions 
when their respective fathers, Ben Sta- 
cey and Warren Reddick, came down 
from Alaska to visit them. The two 
men were inseparable friends, and as 
partners operated a couple of mines 
near Fairbanks. 

Stacey remembered Norma as an im- 
pudent skinny brat, with hair of an 
indefinite blonde shade and a disdain- 
ful snub nose sprinkled generously with 
freckles. He hadn't liked her, and he 
doubted that he would like her now. 
He reminded himself that his only rea- 
son for coming to see her at all was 
because she knew the explanation be- 
hind the half of a map which he had 
received a few days before. It had 
been sent by Chinook Vervain, a half- 



breed servant of his father and Warren 
Reddick. With the map fragment. Ver- 
vain had enclosed a badly scrawled, 
barely legible note, containing Norma's 
address and informing Stacey that the 
girl had the other half of the map and 
would explain the matter. Vervain had 
added a strange warning for Stacey to 
be careful. 

As it developed, the warning hadn't 
been an empty one. The next day Stacey 
received a visit from two men, obvious 
toughs, who had offered to buy his half 
of the map. He had refused to sell. 
That evening, while Stacey had been 
out making arrangements for his trip to 
Seattle, his room had been painstaking- 
ly searched. The map half hadn't been 
found for the simple reason that Stacey 
had taken it with him. 

The two men had followed Stacey 
afterward, their purpose now evidently 
one of robbing him of the map. But 
doubly warned, Stacey had managed to 
elude them. So far anyway, he thought. 
It was possible that the sinister duo had 
followed in another plane, landing but 
scant minutes behind him, and even 
now might be hot on his trail, with a 
lead furnished by a swift check-up of 
cab drivers. 

Heavy, dark brows meeting in a 
frown of perplexity, Stacey puffed at his 
pipe and watched the street. For the 
dozenth time, he wondered what the 
split map could mean. To what did it 
lead? Apparently to something valuable 
enough to have brought his two hard- 
faced visitors all the way from Alaska 
in the effort to buy or steal it. Who were 
these men? Who was behind them? 
And above all, Stacey wanted to know 
why Chinook Vervain instead of his 
father or Warren Reddick had written 
to him. The fact that the map had been 
divided showed the two partners had 
expected trouble of some kind in con- 
nection with it. Did their silence indi- 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



67 



cate that something had happened to 
them? 

The pipe went out between Stacey's 
teeth. He knocked it empty on the 
heel of his hand, decision crystallizing 
in his mind. He was going to see Norma 
Reddick. He'd waited long enough to 
be sure that he hadn't been followed. 

Tucking away the pipe, Stacey picked 
up his bags and left the driveway. It 
was only a short distance to the corner. 
A sign there assured him that the in- 
tersecting street was the one he wanted. 
He turned into it, striding rapidly, 
watching the house numbers. He hadn't 
entirely abandoned his sense of caution. 
He scrutinized closely the people who 
went by and the cars that drove past. 
But still he saw nothing that hinted 
of danger. 

NTORMA REDDICK'S address 
proved to be that of a tall apart- 
ment hotel. Walking toward the en- 
trance, Stacey heard a car door slam 
behind him. The noise was followed 
by the sound of swiftly approaching 
feet. Stacey whirled, thoughts flashing 
in alarm. 

Two men were coming toward him. 
He relaxed a little as he saw they were 
not the men who had visited him in Los 
Angeles. But there was a purposeful- 
ness about them that showed Stacey 
was their immediate objective. 

Stacey measured them grimly. He 
hadn't heard a car drive up. The two 
must have been waiting for him all the 
time. He discarded the idea of bolting 
into the building as soon as it came. He 
wouldn't have been able to make it. 

''You're Gregg Stacey, aren't you?" 
one of the men asked, in a politely in- 
quiring tone. He was fully as tall as 
Stacey, though somewhat slimmer, with 
sharp olive features that narrowly es- 
caped being handsome. Even white 
teeth showed in a smile below a thin, 



carefully trimmed black mustache. He 
was smartly and even foppishly dressed. 
His black Homburg was tilted a bit too 
rakishly, and his gray double-breasted 
topcoat fitted a bit too snugly at the 
hips. 

His companion was of an entirely di f- 
ferent type. The man was a giant. He 
had a square, lumpy face and heavy, 
sloping shoulders from which swung 
arms that seemed abnormally long. His 
clothes were several sizes too small for 
him, not to mention the fact that a 
Borneo bushman might have shown 
more taste in their color scheme. 

Stacey forced a smile to his lips and 
shook his head. "The name's Johnson. 
You probably have me confused with 
someone else." 

"I'm more than positive I haven't," 
the man in the black Homburg said 
evenly. "You look too much like Ben 
Stacey for there to be any mistake." 

Stacey said nothing. He didn't in- 
tend to commit himself. The fact that 
this foppish stranger knew his father 
didn't necessarily mean he was a friend. 

The other's even white teeth gleamed 
in a faintly mocking smile. "Your si- 
lence, I presume, is an admission that 
you're actually Gregg Stacey. Let's 
stop beating 1 around the bush. You 
have part of a certain map, Mr. Stacey. 
I want to buy it." 

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're 
talking about." 

"Come, come, Mr. Stacey, I'm sure 
we have more important things to do 
than play games. I happen to know 
you have the map." 

Stacey's mildly quizzical expression 
vanished. "Then you must be con- 
nected with the two men who came to 
me in Los Angeles. You're here to get 
Norma Reddick's half of the map, and 
the Los Angeles boys contacted you 
after I gave them the slip. Somehow, 
you knew I was coming to Seattle, to 



68 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



see the girl." 

"It pays to be informed, Mr. Stacey," 
the other returned coolly. "At any 
rate, I'm sure this knowledge doesn't 
affect my offer to buy your half of the 
map." 

Grimly Stacey pointed out: "Those 
Los Angeles boys tried to steal my half. 
That's no way to do business. You've 
practically admitted being connected 
with them." 

"Allow me to apologize for the boys, 
then. They're just a bit too impulsive 
sometimes." The dapper stranger lifted 
slim shoulders in a shrug. "Suppose 
we return to the subject of the map, Mr. 
Stacey. As I said, I want to buy it. 
Name your price." 

"I haven't anything to sell." 

"Is that a refusal?" 

"You might put it that way." 

'""THE other thoughtfully fingered his 
thin black mustache. He said fin- 
ally, "Your words suggest that you're in 
no position to sell the map, Mr. Stacey 
— even though you might like to. Is it 
because you don't have the map with 
you?" 

The question rang an alarm bell in- 
side Stacey. It seemed abruptly clear 
to him that the stranger's talk about 
buying the map was merely a subter- 
fuge to determine whether or not Stacey 
had it in his possession. The two men 
in Los Angeles had searched his room 
after employing the same trick. There 
was little doubt in his mind about what 
the pair before him would do if he were 
to admit that he had the map on his 
person. 

"You guessed it," Stacey said. "After 
that stunt your friends tried to pull in 
Los Angeles, I decided I'd better be 
careful. So I mailed the map on ahead. 
Since you're interested only in buying 
it, I'm sure it won't be necessary for 
me to tell you where. The information 



wouldn't do you any good anyway, 
since I'm the only one who can claim 
the letter." 

"Clever — but you hesitated just a 
bit too long, Mr. Stacey." The man in 
the black Homburg smiled thinly and 
nodded at his hulking, clumsily dressed 
companion. "All right, Buck." 

The giant started forward, thick lips 
stretching in an eager grin. Stacey 
glanced quickly up and down the street. 
Nobody was in sight for the moment. 
He would have no help in what was 
shortly to take place. 

But there was no time to worry over 
odds. Stacey moved into action. He 
ducked under Buck's first swing and 
heaved his shoulder violently into the 
giant's midriff. Buck staggered back, 
crashing into his dapper chief. 

Whirling, Stacey darted for the en- 
trance to the apartment hotel. He found 
the door handle and pulled. Nothing 
happened. The door seemed to be 
locked. Then he saw the small metal 
plate fixed to the frame. The door was 
to be pushed, not pulled against. But 
the information came too late to do 
Stacey any good. Before he could cor- 
rect his mistake, Buck reached him 
again. 

A great hand closed like a trap on 
Stacey's shoulder. He felt himself 
swung around as easily as though he 
were a child. An enormous fist leaped 
out, exploding against his chin. All the 
lights went out. 

CTACEY regained consciousness to 
find himself on a wheeltable in a 
small, white-painted room that smelled 
strongly of disinfectant. Pain beat a 
wild anvil chorus inside his skull. 

After a while he sat up. The effort 
sent waves of white hot agony through 
him. He groaned. Raising his hands 
to his temples, he discovered that his 
head had been bandaged. Another dis- 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



69 



covery came a moment later. His 
clothes had been soaked with whiskey. 
Traces of it still lingered in his mouth. 

"Awake, eh?" a voice asked cheer- 
fully. 

Stacey turned. A short, slender man 
in white trousers and tunic had entered 
the room. An interne, Stacey decided. 
He said: 

"This is a hospital?" 

The interne nodded. "A motorist 
found you draped over the tracks at a 
railroad crossing and brought you in. 
You were lucky, mister. A train was 
due in another ten minutes. And you 
were out cold. Probably stumbled and 
hit your head on the tracks." He 
grinned. "That must have been some 
party!" 

Stacey opened his mouth, then closed 
it. To explain what had actually hap- 
pened to him would accomplish nothing 
useful. Going over the events which 
had lead to his awakening in the hos- 
pital, he thought suddenly of the map. 
Anxiety flaming through him, he 
reached quickly into the inner breast 
pocket of his coat. 

The map was gone. 

CHAPTER II 

HpHIS time Stacey pushed. The door 
swung smoothly open, and he strode 
into the lobby of the apartment hotel 
where Norma Reddick lived. 

There had been no difficulty about 
leaving the hospital. The interne had 
obligingly called a cab, and after tidying 
himself up as best he could in a wash- 
room, Stacey had left. Luckily enough, 
the contents of his billfold had been left 
intact. The map had been the only 
thing taken from him. His luggage, 
amazingly, had not been lost. 

To the left of the lobby, opposite a 
self-service elevator, was a small office. 
A woman night clerk set at a telephone 



switchboard, reading a magazine. She 
glanced up sharply as Stacey appeared. 
Her bespectacled eyes widened at sight 
of his bruised face and bandaged head. 

"I'd like to see Norma Reddick," 
Stacey requested. He gave his name. 

The woman glanced disapprovingly 
at a clock on an adjacent wall before 
she turned to the switchboard. It was 
almost midnight, Stacey saw, hardly the 
time to be calling on anyone — a young 
lady, least of all. 

The woman clerk's ring was answered 
quickly enough. She spoke into the 
mouthpiece a moment, then turned back 
to Stacey. 

"You may go up. The room number 
is 506." 

Stacey's thoughts were grim as he 
ascended in the elevator. It had been 
ten years since he had last seen Norma 
Reddick. She was very much an un- 
known quantity. He couldn't be en- 
tirely certain that she wasn't connected 
with the two men who, earlier in the 
evening, had waylaid him and robbed 
him of his half of the map. 

Stacey already knew that the map led 
to something valuable enough to make 
robbery and attempted murder worth- 
while. He didn't know exactly what it 
was, but Norma Reddick apparently 
did, if she were able to explain every- 
thing to him, as Chinook Vervain had 
written. The girl might have decided 
to get Stacey's half. Vervain might 
have given her Stacey's Los Angeles 
address, as Stacey had been given her's 
in Seattle. Thus the girl could very 
well be the person behind the Los An- 
geles attempt. And when that failed, 
she could have prepared the trap at this 
end, knowing, through Vervain again, 
that Stacey was coming to Seattle to 
see her. 

It explained very nicely the knowl- 
edge of the map and of Stacey's where- 
abouts possessed by the man in the 



70 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



black Homburg and his companions. 
Stacey couldn't see how else the others 
fitted into the picture and knew as much 
as they did. 

PHE elevator stopped. Stacey 
emerged with his bags into a long 
hall. Locating room 506, he knocked. 
The door opened after a moment, re- 
vealing a girl. 

Despite himself, Stacey stared. He 
had seen lovely women before, but he 
hadn't expected Norma Reddick to fall 
into that category. For some inex- 
plicable reason, he felt suddenly awk- 
ward and foolish. 

The girl surveyed him cooly from 
large, long-lashed brown eyes. Their 
expression didn't quite match the tense 
set of her piquant, oval features. She 
wore a maroon satin robe about her 
slender figure, and her small feet had 
been thrust into furry white mules. 
Blonde hair the color of ripe wheat was 
piled in thick coils atop her head. Her 
skin was delicately tanned, and the 
freckles Stacey remembered lay like the 
faintest of bronze shadows over her 
cheeks and the bridge of her small 
nose. She had been preparing for bed, 
Stacey decided, or had already been 
asleep when he arrived. 

Finally Norma Reddick stood aside. 
"Won't you come in?" Her voice was 
soft and cool, like her eyes. 

The living room Stacey entered was 
small, simply but comfortably and 
tastefully furnished. It showed none of 
the usual frills of feminine occupancy. 
Stacey sat down stiffly, not quite sure of 
himself, as the girl closed the door and 
nodded at the sofa. 

She leaned against the wall near the 
door and looked at him, hands buried 
in the pockets of her robe. The ten- 
sion which Stacey had earlier noted had 
deepened in her face, and now wariness 
was apparent, too. Her eyes moved 



over his clothes, and then from his 
bruised jaw to his bandaged head. Sta- 
cey was abruptly, painfully conscious 
of the whiskey odor that still hung 
about him. The girl said: 

"You claim to be Gregg Stacey. It's 
quite possible that you're trying to trick 
me. The last time I saw Gregg Stacey 
was ten years ago — and in ten years 
people can change so much that it isn't 
too hard for other people to impersonate 
them." She paused a moment, as though 
to note the effect of her words. "If 
you're actually Gregg Stacey, suppose 
you prove it?" 

"Suppose you tell me how?" Stacey 
said. "You started the game." 

"Well . . . you might have half of 
a certain map, for one thing." 

"You've got me there." Stacey indi- 
cated his bandaged head, and explained 
what had happened, beginning with his 
receipt of the map half from Chinook 
Vervain, and ending with its loss in the 
encounter with the man in the black 
Homburg and his giant companion, 
Buck. 

Norma Reddick moved her slim 
shoulders indifferently. "An interesting 
story. It could be just a little too pat." 

Stacey felt a surge of anger. "You 
don't believe me?" 

"Why should I? You still haven't 
proved anything one way or another." 

"Neither have you, for that matter." 
Stacey pointed out grimly. "There's 
no reason why you should be corisidered 
entirely above suspicion. I don't know 
what the whole map leads to — some- 
thing valuable, evidently — but you do. 
You could have decided to steal my 
half. Chinook Vervain probably gave 
you my address, just as he gave me 
yours. So you could be the person be- 
hind the two men who searched my 
room in Los Angeles. And when that 
failed, you could have had the other 
two waiting for me outside, knowing I 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



71 



was coming here to see you." 

"But I didn't have anything to do 
with it," Norma Reddick insisted, with 
a trace of indignation. "Why, Mark 
Devore — the one in the black hat — is 
after my half of the map, too ! " 

"Too pat," Stacey said. "Doesn't 
prove anything one way or another." 

HPHE girl's face tightened angrily, but 
in another moment she grinned. 
"Some of my own medicine, is that it? 
All right, let's settle this once and for 
all. If you're actually Gregg Stacey, 
tell me what happened in the movie our 
fathers took us to the last time we saw 
each other." 

Stacey scowled. "You put a wad of 
chewing gum on my seat, and I sat on 
it. I was wearing my best pair of 
pants, too." 

"You sound as though you were still 
mad," Norma Reddick said. She tried 
to look serious, though her brown eyes 
showed a betraying twinkle. "If it's 
not too late to apologize, I'd like to 
do so." 

Stacey watched her unsmilingly from 
beneath the overhang of his heavy 
brows. "You may be satisfied about 
me, but I'm afraid I can't say the same 
for you. You haven't proved that you 
aren't the person behind the men who 
stole my half of the map." 

Red lips tightening, the girl reached 
into the neck of her robe and pulled out 
an envelope. She tossed it into Sta- 
cey's lap. 

The envelope contained half of a 
map — the girl's half, Stacey discovered. 
He looked up at her, puzzled. She said: 

"If you think I had anything to do 
with the theft of your part of the map, 
then here's mine to make up for it. I 
don't know any other way of proving 
my innocence." 

Stacey handed the envelope back 
hastily. "I wouldn't think of doing any- 



thing like that. Anyway, your part 
wouldn't be any good without mine to 
go with it." 

Norma Reddick thoughtfully re- 
stored the envelope to its hiding place. 
"You took that last hurdle nicely. So 
I guess I won't be needing this." She 
pulled a small revolver from a pocket of 
her robe and placed it on a bookcase 
near the door. 

Stacey was staring in dismay. "You 
mean if I hadn't given you back the 
envelope . . . ?" 

"Something like that." The girl took 
in Stacey's expression and grinned. 

Stacey sputtered wrathfully. But in 
another moment, meeting the dancing 
impishness in Norma Reddick's brown 
eyes, he grinned, too. 

The girl went to a nearby chair and 
sat down. Stacey produced his pipe 
and began to fill it, frowning medi- 
tatively. He said: 

"But the fellow in the black hat — the 
one you called Mark Devore. How 
does he figure in this? If he's an out- 
sider, how does he happen to know so 
much about everything that has hap- 
pened here?" 

"Adding what you've told me to what 
I already know, it seems easy to guess," 
Norma answered. "Mark Devore came 
to me two days ago and explained that 
he was a friend of my father. He said 
he had flown here from Grubstake, the 
tiny mining town near Fairbanks where 
my father . . . and yours" — her voice 
faltered strangely — "operated their 
mines. Devore told me father was be- 
ing held prisoner by a gang, and unless 
I gave my half of the map as ransom, 
father would be killed. Devore even 
had a note from father, verifying his 
story. Father wrote he was being held 
prisoner, and that I was to give my half 
of the map to Devore, a friend who had 
been chosen by the gang to act as go- 
between." 



72 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"T^EVORE lied!" Stacey growled. 
"After what happened to me a 
while ago, it's clear that Devore wasn't 
acting as go-between for anybody but 
Devore. He's most likely the leader of 
this gang, and forced your father to 
write the note." 

"I didn't suspect anything like that 
at the time," Norma went on. "But I 
decided to stall him off until you ar- 
rived. I realized that my half of the 
map was valueless unless your half 
went with it. I wanted to compare 
notes with you, to see if any demands 
had been made upon you, and what 
sort. 

"I knew you were to visit me, be- 
cause I, too, received a note from Chi- 
nook Vervain with my half of the map. 
But enclosed was also a letter from my 
father, which explained what the affair 
was all about. The letter had been 
written not long previously. Father was 
afraid that something might happen to 
him, and he arranged with Chinook 
Vervain for the letter to be sent to me 
in case anything did. Chinook also had 
the map, with orders to send a half to 
each of us. Father took this precaution, 
since he suspected, without actually 
knowing who they were at the time, 
that unscrupulous men were after the 
map — men who would stop at nothing 
to get it." 

Stacey emitted a cloud of pipe smoke 
and leaned' forward. "There's one 
thing I don't understand. Where was 
my father while all this was going on?" 

Norma hesitated, glancing away. 
"You'll have to prepare yourself for a 
shock, Gregg." 

"Why . . . what do you mean?" 

"Your father is dead." 

Stacey rose slowly from the sofa. 
'. . . Murdered?" 

"No, Gregg, he was sick." Norma 
paused a moment, as though groping for 
continuity. "Perhaps I'd better ex- 



plain everything in order." 

Stacey nodded mechanically. He 
stared at the floor, not seeing anything. 
The lines in his face had deepened. 

Norma resumed, "I learned about 
Ben Stacey's death in my father's let- 
ter. It's tied in with the explanation 
for the map. You see, several years ago 
an old prospector came into Grubstake 
with the story that he had discovered a 
fabulously rich vein of gold, which he 
called the Golden Dream. The pros- 
pector drank himself to death in a wild 
orgy of celebration before he got around 
to doing so much as filing a claim, but 
he was only person who knew the Gol- 
den Dream's location, and the secret 
died with him. Hundreds of men later 
searched for the vein, but none ever 
found it— that is, until Ben Stacey did. 

"He and my father had a theory 
about the location of the vein, and 
planned to set out together on a pros- 
pecting trip. But a few days before 
they were to start, my father had an ac- 
cident at one of the mines and broke his 
ankle. Ben Stacey and Chinook set out 
alone. They found the vein, all right, 
and Ben Stacey made a map of the lo- 
cation. Then, as he and Chinook were 
on their way back, Ben Stacey took 
sick. By the time Chinook got him to 
the hospital in Grubstake, it was too 
late to do anything. 

"Before he died, however, Ben Stacey 
was delirious and revealed not only that 
he had rediscovered the Golden Dream, 
but had drawn a map leading to it. The 
news spread. Father had the map by 
this time, and decided to take the pre- 
cautions I've already mentioned. He 
ordered Chinook to go into hiding, 
since Chinook had been with Ben Sta- 
cey and could have been forced to tell 
where the vein was. Chinook thus had 
the letter and the map, and was free 
to send them on to us in the event that 
something happened to father." 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



73 



"Why didn't your father file a 
claim?" Stacey demanded. "He would 
have been safe, then." 

"Things evidently happened too 
fast," Norma said. "Father's ankle 
hadn't entirely healed yet, and he didn't 
have time to do even so much as wire 
you about Ben Stacey's death. If it 
hadn't been for his ankle, he could have 
gone into hiding with Chinook. Any- 
way, no information could have been 
forced from him, since, without the 
map, he didn't know where the Golden 
Dream was located." 

CTACEY nodded thoughtfully. "As 
regards Devore, it's clear enough 
how he got his information. He was 
one of a number of people who heard 
the news about the Golden Dream and 
the map that Dad gave out while delir- 
ious. We already know Devore must 
be the leader of the gang that is holding 
your father prisoner. Devore appar- 
ently forced your father to tell what 
happened to the map, learning it had 
been sent to us. Then Devore got our 
addresses, either from your father or 
from old letters which we had written." 
Stacey puffed in silence a moment. 
"How long did you succeed in keeping 
Devore stalled off?" 

"I'm supposed to give him my deci- 
sion about the map in the morning," 
Norma answered. 

"I'd been hoping for more time than 
that," Stacey said, in dismay. "The 
only way to beat Devore is to file a 
claim to the Golden Dream. That'^ 
impossible without my half of the map, 
but Devore probably thinks a train fin- 
ished me by now, and with enough time 
I could have flown to Grubstake, to find 
Chinook. He knows the location of the 
vein, and friends of his would have told 
me where he was hiding. Then I could 
have tried to find your father. He's 
most likely being held prisoner some- 



where near Grubstake." 

Norma said slowly, "I could try to 
stall Devore off a while longer. The 
drawback is that he now has your half 
of the map and would refuse to wait. I 
couldn't do anything that would en- 
danger my father's life." 

Stacey stared morosely into space, 
gnawing at the stem of his pipe. The 
situation was hopeless. If only he 
hadn't lost his portion of the map — 
Abruptly Stacey slapped his knee, face 
brightening. 

"I've got it!" he told Norma. "Lis- 
ten. Devore wants your map half. 
There's no way we can stall him off 
without risking the chance that your 
father will be killed. All right, we'll 
give him what he wants — but not ex- 
actly. Devore doesn't know what your 
half of the map looks like. We could 
give him a faked map — a map showing 
a false location for the Golden Dream — 
and he'd never know the difference. 
And that's just what we'll do! It'll put 
your father out of danger for the time 
being, and before Devore finds out he's 
been tricked, I'll have found Chinook 
and filed a claim." 

Norma was smiling eagerly, but in 
another moment she sobered. "The 
faked map will have to pass a close in- 
spection. Devore is certain to compare 
it with your half." 

"We'll get around that," Stacey said 
with assurance. "We'll use paper and 
ink as nearly like that of the original as 
can possibly be found. And we'll see 
that it's properly aged by soiling and 
creasing." 

Norma snapped her fingers. "There's 
an all-night drugstore down the street. 
It has a large stationery department, 
but if we can't find exactly what we 
want, the manager will get it for us. 
Or for me, rather." Norma grinned 
wryly. "Just one of my many admirers." 

"We'll get started at once," Stacey 



74 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



said. "When we're finished with the 
map, I'll check in at a hotel and get 
some sleep. In the morning I'll take a 
plane to Juneau. From there, I'll be 
able to get another to take me to Grub- 
stake." 

"You don't seem to be including me 
in your plans," Norma pointed out. 
"You'd better — b e c a u s e I'm going 
along." 

Stacey objected, pointing out the 
dangers that lay ahead. But the girl 
remained adamant. Finally Stacey gave 
in. Somehow it wasnt' hard to do. 

CHAPTER III 

TVTORNING sunlight was warm on 
Stacey 's face, as he stood watch- 
ing the entrance to Norma Reddick's 
apartment hotel from a deeply recessed 
doorway on the same side of the street, 
but a safe distance away. He puffed 
impatiently at his pipe and wondered 
how much longer it would be before De- 
vore and Buck came out. Almost fif- 
teen minutes had passed since the two 
had gone into the building. 

Stacey's thoughts became worried. 
Could something have gone wrong? 
Had Devore discovered at the very out- 
set that Norma's map half had been 
faked? 

The possibility was one that Stacey 
couldn't avoid, despite the fact that he 
and Norma had been able to secure 
materials closely similar to those used in 
the original map, and that Stacey had 
worked into the small hours of the 
morning over the imitation. It had 
taken longer than Stacey had expected. 
There had been no time for sleep after- 
ward. Stacey had checked in at a hotel, 
but only long enough to take a cold 
shower and change his clothes. Then 
he'd had breakfast and made air reser- 
vations to Juneau. Restlessness and a 
nagging anxiety had made him decide to 



be present near Norma's apartment 
hotel when Devore arrived with Buck 
to get Norma's map half. He had been 
watching since the two appeared and 
entered the building. 

While waiting, Stacey had toyed with 
the idea of calling the police to arrest 
Devore and Buck, and even of jumping 
the two alone, when they emerged. He 
had realized, however, that he could do 
nothing while Devore held Warren Red- 
dick in his power. To take any sort of 
action against Devore at this point 
would only doom Norma's father. Be- 
sides, Stacey saw his big advantage lay 
in keeping himself out of the picture 
for the time being. As long as De- 
vore thought him out of the way, he 
would be able to wage a campaign that 
would take Devore by surprise right on 
his home grounds, without running the 
risk that innocent persons would suffer. 

Peering from his doorway vantage 
point, Stacey stiffened as he saw two 
men leave the apartment hotel. There 
was no mistaking the pair. Devore and 
Buck. 

They seemed highly elated. Stacey 
heard Devore laugh. Then the two 
crossed the sidewalk and entered a car 
parked at the curb. The machine looked 
like one rented from a drive-yourself 
agency. 

The car pulled away from the curb 
and sped off in the opposite direction. 
Stacey watched it dwindle in the dis- 
tance and finally disappear into an in- 
tersecting street. He felt certain that 
Devore wouldn't return. Leaving the 
doorway, he strode toward the apart- 
ment hotel. 

rVTORM A was busy packing when Sta- 
cey arrived. She grinned excitedly. 
"It worked like a charm!" she re- 
ported. "Devore swallowed that fake 
map hook, line, and sinker. He didn't 
examine it very closely, evidently sure 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



75 



that I'd be too afraid to trick him." 

"I was starting to get worried," Sta- 
cey admitted. "He was up here so long 
that I thought he'd found out what we 
were up to." 

Norma made a face. "Devore was 
giving me a song and dance about how 
worried he was over father, and how 
sorry he felt that the gang in Alaska 
should force me to give up the map this 
way. He insisted that he was father's 
friend, and that nothing was too good 
for the daughter of a friend of his. He 
was so concerned about my future that 
he offered me a job." 

"A job!" Stacey snorted. "Doing 
what? Cracking safes and cutting 
throats?" 

"Private secretary. It seems Devore 
operates a few mines around Gurbstake 
himself. He named a salary too large 
for honorable intentions, and every time 
I refused, he raised it. Finally, though, 
he accepted the idea that I wasn't in- 
terested in working for him at any 
price, and left." 

Stacey was thoughtful. "If Devore 
was sincere about the job, that means 
your father doesn't know Devore is 
responsible for his being kept prisoner. 
Thus when your father is released, De- 
vore will be in the clear. He can file 
a claim to the Golden Dream, and no- 
body can prove anything. Without the 
map, neither we nor your father could 
tell if it was the Golden Dream or any 
one of a dozen still undiscovered veins 
of gold." 

Norma resumed packing, while Sta- 
cey used the phone to send for a cab. 
When the girl had finished and readied 
herself for leaving, they talked while 
waiting for the cab to arrive. Typical 
small-talk that did much to relieve the 
nerve-gnawing tension which both felt. 

Stacey learned that Norma had been 
working as a fashion designer for a 
large exclusive Seattle dress shop. Al- 



most shyly, she revealed her plans for 
opening a small shop of her own, to 
sell clothes which she had designed. 
Finding the conversational gambit in 
his hands at one point, Stacey told the 
girl that he had been taking a post- 
graduate course in chemistry at a uni- 
versity in Los Angeles, studies that had 
been interrupted by two years of war 
duty with a chemical warfare division 
in Europe. 

No time at all seemed to have 
elapsed, when the clerk downstairs rang 
to notify that their cab was waiting. 
Stacey took the girl's bags, and they 
left the room. He'd already had his 
own luggage sent to the airport. 

Stacey didn't overlook the possibil- 
ity that Devore and Buck, obviously on 
the way to Grubstake also, might take 
the same plane on which he and Norma 
had booked passage. At the airport, 
he gave the cab driver a bill, with or- 
ders to check the passenger list on the 
pretext that he was trying to locate a 
fare who, while enroute to the airport 
earlier, had left a wallet in his cab. 
The driver was also to tour the terminal 
building looking for Devore and Buck 
on the basis of descriptions which Sta- 
cey supplied. Stacey realized that De- 
vore and Buck might travel under false 
names. 

'"THE cabbie found no trace of the 
two, however. Stacey remained cau- 
tious, nevertheless, until the plane bear- 
ing Norma and himself finally took off 
for Juneau. 

The trip was uneventful. Yet, to 
Stacey, it had all the glamor of a flight 
to the Moon. How much of this mood 
was due to Norma's presence, he didn't 
dare guess. The girl was intelligent, 
humorous, fascinating to talk to. He 
found that they had an astonishingly 
large number of outlooks and ideals in 
common. 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Stacey was startled when the stew- 
ardess announced that they were short- 
ly to land in Juneau. It seemed im- 
possible that the trip could have been 
made so soon. 

Immediately after landing, Stacey 
made inquiries at the air terminal about 
the next flight to Fairbanks. A plane 
was due to leave in twenty minutes. 
Stacey was elated. It meant that no 
time would be lost. He made the nec- 
essary arrangements for passage, and 
then, after a quick, meal in a restaurant 
adjoining the terminal, he and Norma 
were once more in the air. 

At Fairbanks, Stacey found that a 
train on the Alaska Railroad would take 
them to Grubstake. The train was the 
last that day from Seward, and would 
arrive in two hours. Stacey didn't 
mind the wait. With Norma time had 
little if any meaning, and he was cer- 
tain that he had a more than sufficiently 
large lead on Devore and Buck. 

Stacey bought tickets, and then he 
and Norma took a seat in the station. 
They didn't talk much. By this time, 
a depth and warmth of understanding 
between them had been reached that 
made words superfluous 

Norma fell asleep, her head resting 
against Stacey's shoulder. After a while, 
he put his arm around her. He thought 
of his pipe, but filling and lighting it 
would have required taking his arm 
away. He decided that the situation 
was sufficiently perfect as it was. 

The train arrived on time. Less than 
an hour later, Stacey and Norma were 
in Grubstake. 

A dilapidated flivver with the word 
taxi crudely painted on its sides was 
parked at the depot. The driver, an 
elderly man whose appearance was com- 
pletely in keeping with the car, took 
Stacey and Norma to Grubstake's only 
hotel. It was after midnight, and the 
drive showed the town dark and desert- 



ed. Stacey was grimly glad of that 
fact. His and Norma's arrival couldn't 
have been timed better, since it would 
draw hardly any notice. 

The hotel was a large frame building 
covered with asbestos shingles. Stacey 
and Norma registered under assumed 
names according to a prearranged plan. 
The clerk took them up a broad stair- 
way, to the doors of their respective 
rooms. He was short and bald, with 
protuberant eyes that showed a strong 
curiosity. 

Stacey and Norma parted with a 
deliberate casualness that left the clerk 
plainly disappointed. Once in his room, 
Stacey lost no time preparing for bed. 
He'd had little if any sleep the past few 
days, and had been going along mainly 
on reserve energy. Sleep engulfed him 
like a tidal wave as soon as his head 
touched the pillow. 

nTHE sound of someone knocking at 
his door awakened Stacey. Sun- 
light poured into the room from around 
the edges of the drawn window shade. 
He gazed about him uncomprehending- 
ly for a moment, while the knocking 
came again. 

"Who is it?" he called out. 

"It's me. Norma. Do you feel like 
getting up?" 

Stacey glanced at his watch. It was 
almost eleven o'clock. He answered: 

"I'd better get up if I feel like it or 
not." 

"I'll meet you down in the dining 
room, then." 

"Be right with you." 

Stacey washed and dressed quickly, 
and went downstairs. The hotel dining 
room was small and pleasantly old- 
fashioned. He found Norma seated at 
a corner table. He had hardly sat 
down when a buxom waitress came to 
take his order. 

"Well, here we are," Norma said with 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



77 



grim cheerfulness, when the waitress 
had gone. "Where do we start first?" 

"The most important thing to do in 
the beginning is to find Chinook Ver- 
vain," Stacey responded. "Chinook 
knows the location of the Golden 
Dream, and with his help we can file a 
claim. Devore will be blocked off in 
that direction. Then we'll try to find 
your father. Chinook knows the lo- 
cality around Grubstake, and may have 
an idea about where your father is be- 
ing kept." 

"But how are you going to find Chi- 
nook?" Norma asked. "He's supposed 
to be in hiding — and he really must be 
well hid, if Devore hadn't been able to 
find him." 

"Chinook has friends in Grubstake," 
Stacey pointed out. "The obvious 
place to look for them is among the peo- 
ple who worked for your father and 
mine. The Stacey- Reddick Mining 
Company has an office here, in Grub- 
stake." 

Norma grinned with characteristic 
impishness. "Mastermind!" Then she 
sobered. "Gregg, it seems almost too 
easy. Suppose something goes wrong?" 

"I don't see how anything can go 
wrong until Devore and Buck get here. 
And we have enough time." Stacey 
put a confidence into his words that he 
didn't entirely feel. 

Norma remained grave. Stacey made 
no further attempts at false light-heart- 
edness. He saw that the intimate mood 
which they had shared the previous day 
was not to be recaptured. To both 
Grubstake had become synonymous 
with danger, and their presence in the 
town seemed to cast a shadow over their 
thoughts and emotions. 

The waitress returned, bringing Nor- 
ma's order along with Stacey's. They 
ate in silence. A short time later they 
left the hotel. A pedestrian directed 
them to the offices of the Stacey-Red- 



dick Mining Company. Grubstake was 
small, and they found that they could 
easily walk the distance. 

Their objective proved to be a small 
single-storied brick building of compar- 
atively recent construction. Sight of It 
and the sign over the entrance acted as a 
catalyst upon them, releasing a long- 
pent excitement. 

Stacey caught Norma's eager gaze 
and nodded. "This is it. Keep your 
fingers crossed." 

HPHEY strode inside. Just within the 
entrance was a wooden railing be- 
yond which a group of a dozen or so 
people sat at work behind desks. Their 
appearance made them the targets of 
a concerted barrage of curious stares — 
the longest and most intent of which 
seemed to be directed at Stacey. After 
a moment a young woman rose from one 
of the nearest desks and came forward. 

"Can I help you?" 

"I'd like to see whoever is in charge 
here," Stacey said. 

"That will be superintendent Bill 
Haekstrom. Who shall I tell him is 
calling?" 

Stacey gave his name. The young 
woman's face showed a look of sur- 
prise, though the answer didn't seem en- 
tirely unexpected. She turned quickly 
and strode into one of a group of three 
offices, partitioned off from the rest of 
the room. Almost at once, she returned, 
opening a gate in the railing. 

"Mr. Haekstrom says he will be de- 
lighted to see you." 

Haekstrom was a red-headed, burly 
man with broad Scandinavian features. 
He wrung Stacey's hand with a delight 
that was almost tearful. 

"So you're Gregg, Ben Stacey's boy! 
I'd have known it a mile away. You're 
a regular mirror image of your Dad. 
A regular chip off the old block! " 

Haekstrom greeted Norma with simi- 



78 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



lar enthusiasm. He bustled about ex- 
citedly, closing the door, and settling 
his visitors in chairs. Finally he sat 
down on a corner of his desk, and his 
broad face turned solemn. He said 
slowly: 

"A lot of strange things have hap- 
pened here within the last few weeks. 
Maybe you can explain some of them 
for me. What I want to know most of 
all is what happened to Warren Red- 
dick. He was laid up with a busted 
ankle, you know. Then he suddenly 
went away somewhere, without letting 
me know where he was going or why. 
Just left me a note, telling me to take 
charge of things until he got back." 

"Warren Reddick was kidnapped," 
Stacey said. 

Haekstrom stared incredulously. 
"But the note he left me? I know his 
handwriting like I know my own face. 
He wrote it, all right." 

"Warren Reddick was undoubtedly 
forced to write that note," Stacey ex- 
plained. "But before I go any further, 
I want to check on something. You 
heard about my father finding the 
Golden Dream, and the map he made of 
its location?" 

Haekstrom nodded his bristling red 
shock. "Sure — and so has almost ev- 
erybody else in Grubstake. Your Dad 
was sick, you know, and talked about 
the lode and the map before . . . be- 
fore he died." 

Stacey went on to tell about receiving 
half of the map from Chinook Vervain, 
and the attempt which had been made 
in Los Angeles to steal it. Then he de- 
tailed its loss in the encounter with De- 
vore and Buck in Seattle, where he had 
gone to see Norma. He outlined De- 
vore's part in the affair, explaining what 
had actually happened to Reddick, and 
told of the trick which he and Norma 
had used to prevent Devore from ob- 
taining Norma's map half. Finally he 



related his and Norma's purpose in 
coming to Grubstake. 

"Chinook knows the location of the 
Golden Dream, and he might know 
where Warren Reddick is being held," 
Stacey told Haekstrom. "I came to you 
on the chance that you could tell me 
where Chinook is hiding out. If I can 
find Chinook, Devore is through." 

Haekstrom smiled sadly, bitterly. "A 
note from Chinook reached me a little 
over a week ago. He wanted to see me, 
and told me where he was. A cabin up 
near Birch Creek. He said I shouldn't 
let anybody else know, and to be care- 
ful. Well, when I got there, I found 
the cabin burned down. Investigating, 
I found bones among the ruins — hardly 
more than cinder and ash. Chinook 
Vervain is dead." 

CHAPTER IV 

'"THE hotel dining room was filled 
with the buzz of voices. It was eve- 
ning, and almost all the tables were oc- 
cupied. 

Stacey and Norma sat at a table be- 
side one of the windows. They had just 
finished eating. Norma was gazing 
pensively through the window, at the 
lighted signs and storefronts of Grub- 
stake's main street. Heavy brows fused 
in a scowl, Stacey brooded into his 
empty coffee cup, smoke spiralling from 
the pipe gripped between his teeth. De- 
jection was a weight that lay heavily 
over both. 

There no longer was any doubt in 
Stacey's mind that Chinook Vervain 
was actually dead. At first he had re- 
fused to believe Haekstrom's story. He 
had trusted the man instinctively from 
the very first moment of their meeting, 
but Chinook had been his only hope for 
defeating Devore's ruthless plans, and 
he had been reluctant to accept the fact 
that is should be so swiftly lost. That 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



79 



afternoon, however, Haekstrom had 
taken Stacey and Nortna to Birch 
Creek, and Stacey had seen the evi- 
dence of the burned cabin with his own 
eyes. 

Knowledge of his helplessness ate at 
Stacey's mind like an acid. There 
seemed utterly nothing that he could 
do now, nowhere that he could turn. 

Stacey was startled as he felt Nor- 
ma's fingers grip abruptly at his wrist. 
The girl was peering tensely through 
the window. Following the direction 
of her eyes, Stacey saw two men passing 
a lighted store-front on the opposite side 
of the street. He recognized them at 
once. Devore and Buck! 

The two carried suitcases and were 
striding along swiftly and purposefully. 
They had obviously just returned to 
Grubstake. 

A cold emptiness spreading through 
him, Stacey met Norma's gaze. The 
girl's features were drawn with despair. 
She whispered: 

"Gregg, what are we going to do? If 
Devore finds out that we're here, my 
father will be killed. Father is all the 
evidence we have against Devore, and 
Devore won't take the chance that we 
might get to him." 

"We'll have to take the fight directly 
to Devore," Stacey answered grimly. 
"We're here, and we certainly wouldn't 
accomplish anything by hiding out like 
a couple of mice. If we act fast enough, 
Devore won't have time to do anything 
about your father." Stacey's face 
tightened with sudden decision. "And 
I know just how to start. I'm going to 
follow Devore!" 

"But, Gregg, if something happens 
to you — " 

"That's the risk I'll have to take." 
Stacey rose, tossing a bill to the table. 
"You go to your room, Norma, and stay 
there until I get back." Heedless of 
the girl's protests, he grabbed his hat 



and hurried out to the street. 

T^EVORE and Buck were still in 
sight. Keeping to the side of the 
street opposite that along which the pair 
were striding, Stacey followed rapidly 
in their wake. 

The pursuit led for two blocks along 
Grubstake's main thoroughfare. Then 
Devore and Buck turned a corner. They 
proceeded for almost a block more, 
stopping finally before the entrance to a 
small wooden building. It seemed to 
be an office, for a sign over the door 
read Greater Alaska Mines and Metals. 

Stacey drew back into the shadows 
of a building on his side of the street 
while Devore produced a key and un- 
locked the door. Then Devore strode 
inside, Buck following, and the door 
closed. Lights sprang on behind the 
windows in front, but in another mo- 
ment shades were drawn. 

Crossing the street quickly, Stacey 
slipped into the dense shadows filling 
the space between the side of the build- 
ing and the one next to it. Shades were 
drawn behind the windows here, too, 
but at one of the windows further back. 
Stacey found the shade hadn't been 
pulled entirely down to the sill. The 
bottom of the window was on a level 
with his chin. He could see without 
difficulty into the room beyond. 

Devore was standing at a desk a bare 
five feet away, his sharp olive face vis- 
ible in profile. Buck's hulking form 
was sprawled in a chair nearby. 

As Stacey watched, Devore reached 
into the inner breast pocket of his suit 
coat and pulled out an envelope. He 
toyed with it a moment, smiling exult- 
antly. He said something to Buck, and 
the giant's thick lips stretched in a grin. 
Stacey found, by pressing close to the 
window, that he could hear almost every 
word spoken. 

". . . best way to get rich but 



80 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



quick," Devore was saying. "After all, 
Buck, nothing ventured, nothing 
gained." 

"You said it, chief!" Buck agreed. 

Devore went on, "I have the entire 
map now, and once I file a claim and 
start mining the gold, I'll be top man 
in these parts — financially speaking. 
And I won't have anything to worry 
about. Gregg Stacey's out of the way, 
and as for the girl, she swallowed the 
story about her old man that I gave 
her, which means she'll swallow any 
other story I choose to give." 

"What about Reddick, chief?" Buck 
asked. 

Devore drew a finger across his 
throat. "Reddick would be able to 
make too much trouble for me. Kid- 
napping is a serious offense, you know, 
and the money from the Golden Dream 
wouldn't do me any good in jail. We'll 
go down to the Trump Card in the 
morning and see that Reddick is taken 
care of." 

Devore toyed with the envelope an 
instant longer, then turned toward a 
large safe placed against the wall on the 
side of the room directly opposite Sta- 
cey. Devore's back hid his manipula- 
tions of the dial. 

CTACEY waited no longer. He 
guessed that Devore's next move, 
after locking away the envelope, would 
be to leave the building with Buck. 
Stacey considered only briefly the idea 
of waiting until the two left and then 
tackling the safe in an attempt to re- 
gain his half of the map. It would 
have been merely a waste of time. He 
was anything but an expert safecracker. 

Leaving the building quietly and cau- 
tiously, Stacey strode swiftly back to 
the hotel. His pulses raced with ex- 
citement. Devore had dropped a clue 
leading directly to Norma's father! 

At the hotel, Stacey went at once to 



Norma's room. The girl opened the 
door at his knock, and he hurried in- 
side. He checked an eager rush of 
words as he saw Norma had a visitor. 
It was Haekstrom. 

"Just dropped in about some business 
matters that I didn't think you'd feel 
like discussing this afternoon," Haek- 
strom explained. He gazed at Stacey 
curiously. "Norma told me about you 
following Devore and Buck. Did you 
turn up anything?" 

Stacey nodded and proceeded to re- 
late what he had overheard while eaves- 
dropping on the pair. He finished : 

"Devore doesn't know it yet, but he's 
furnished us with exactly the informa- 
tion concerning Norma's father that we 
want. The reference to the Trump 
Card in connection with Warren Red- 
dick obviously means that the Trump 
Card is the place where he's being kept 
prisoner." 

Norma's small face had brightened 
with incredulous joy. "That means 
everything isn't entirely hopeless after 
all, Gregg! We now have a chance to 
rescue my father." She frowned 
slightly. "But where and just what is 
the Trump Card?" 

"It's an abandoned mine about ten 
miles out of town," Haekstrom replied. 
"I believe Devore holds the title to it." 

"Think you'd care to take the risk 
of leading me there?" Stacey asked. 

Haekstrom's broad features set de- 
terminedly. "I don't see why not. This 
is my fight as much as yours." 

Stacey nodded. "Good! If we can 
get Warren Reddick away from Devore, 
we'll still have a fighting chance at the 
Golden Dream. According to what De- 
vore himself said, Reddick knows that 
Devore is the person who is keeping him 
prisoner. By rescuing Reddick, we'll 
have a weapon against Devore — force 
him to return my half of the map or 
charge him with kidnapping. Devore 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



81 



knows that Reddick's testimony would 
form an air-tight case against him." 

"You can count me in on anything 
you do," Haekstrom said. "When do 
we start for the Trump Card?" 

''Immediately, if possible," Stacey 
returned. 

Haekstrom hesitated. "I'll need a 
little time to get some things together. 
It won't take me long. Besides, there's 
a fairly good road leading to the Trump 
Card, and we'll be able to drive out in 
my car." 

Stacey nodded quick agreement. "I'll 
wait for you, then. As for Norma, she'll 
remain at the hotel while we're gone." 

Norma's red mouth tightened stub- 
bornly. "I think I have something to 
say about that, Gregg Stacey! I came 
this far, and I don't see why I shouldn't 
go any further. After all, Warren Red- 
dick is my father. I ought to have a 
chance to help him, too." 

Stacey was about to remonstrate, but 
Haekstrom shrugged and said, "It'll be 
all right for Norma to come along with 
us. There won't be much if any dan- 
ger. Devore won't be out to the Trump 
Card until morning, and he can't have 
more than two men guarding Reddick." 
Stacey gave in, and Haekstrom left with 
the understanding that Stacey and Nor- 
ma were to get ready while he was gone. 

"\\7TTHIN twenty minutes, Haek- 
strom returned. Stacey and Nor- 
ma were waiting for him in Norma's 
room. They had both changed into 
rough clothes. 

Haekstrom grinned. "Took me a 
little longer than I thought it would." 
He had removed his business suit and 
now wore a w o o 1 jacket, corduroy 
breeches, and laced boots. 

"What did, if I may ask?" Norma 
inquired. "Gregg seems to understand, 
but it's a mystery to me." 

"We'll have to persuade your father's 



guards to let him go," Haekstrom re- 
sponded. "I just went to get a little 
persuasion. Guns, in other words. I 
have two rifles and a revolver down in 
the car." 

"Oh." Norma's brown eyes widened. 

"Do ... do you really think we'll 
have to use them?" 

Haekstrom nodded solemnly. 
"There's a good chance." 

"I hope so, for one," Stacey grunted. 
"Men who'll work for a skunk like De- 
vore deserve to get shot." He gestured 
toward the door. "All right, let's get 
started." 

They left the hotel unobtrusively, 
and Haekstrom led the way to his car, 
a battered sedan parked at the curb 
outside. A moment later they were 
moving toward the outskirts of Grub- 
stake. 

The lights of the town dwindled and 
presently vanished altogether behind a 
turn in the road. The sedan's head- 
lights bored into a darkness that was 
deep and still and menacingly primeval. 
A wilderness reached out to gather them 
in. On either side, rugged hills rose out 
of broad stretches of fir and pine, and 
in the distance ahead a quarter moon 
showed the tips of mountains, a vast 
jagged outline against the sky. The 
cool air streaming past the car was 
fragrant with the mingled scents of 
pine and wild flowers and moist grass. 

Stacey, Norma, and Haekstrom rode 
in silence, faces grave with thought of 
the task before them. After a while, 
Haekstrom turned the sedan into a nar- 
row rough dirt road. They progressed 
more slowly now, lurching and bump- 
ing. 

"Almost t h e r e," Haekstrom an- 
nounced at last. He drove for several 
minutes longer, then brought the sedan 
to a stop. "We'll have to walk from 
here. If I drove in too close, the noise 
from the car would give us way." 



82 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Stacey and Norma climbed out. 
Haekstrom joined them after a moment, 
holding the revolver and two rifles, and 
a flashlight. Stacey took one of the 
rifles, and Haekstrom handed the re- 
volver to Norma, who declined it. 

"I have one of my own, thanks," the 
girl explained. She produced the little 
revolver which Stacey had seen back 
in Seattle. 

Haekstrom chuckled and shoved the 
extra weapon into a pocket of his jack- 
et. With a gesture, he swung into the 
lead, cautiously lighting the way with 
the flashlight. 

They followed the road along a line 
of low hills on one side and a dense 
stretch of brush and pines on the other. 
The road gradually grew steep, curv- 
ing around to meet the hills and enter- 
ing them between a narrow pass. Be- 
yond the pass, the road slanted down to 
the floor of a tiny valley. 

Haekstrom switched off the flash- 
light. "This is it. We'll really have 
to be careful, now." 

PEERING into the valley as his eyes 
became adjusted to the unrelieved 
darkness, Stacey saw a number of 
lights. They came from the windows of 
a long low wooden building. 

Stacey caught Haekstrom's glance 
and nodded grimly. They started down 
the descent, stepping carefully over the 
ruts and loose stones of the road. A 
number of other buildings shortly be- 
came visible in the gloom. These were 
unlighted. The only sign of life was 
that shown by particular building upon 
which they were closing in. 

Presently their objective was only a 
scant dozen yards away. They crept 
forward, moving with extreme caution 
among rocks and clumps of brush. 
Reaching the lighted building, Stacey, 
Norma, and Haekstrom slipped up to 
one of the nearest windows and peered 



inside. 

The illumination came from two ker- 
osine lamps hanging on wires from the 
low ceiling. Directly under one of the 
lamps was a table at which two men sat, 
playing cards. They were roughly 
dressed and unshaven. Revolvers lay 
close at hand on the table before each. 
Bunks were placed around the sides of 
the room. In one of these, visible across 
the table, lay a slim elderly man whose 
disheveled sandy hair was streaked 
with gray at the temples. He seemed 
to be asleep. 

Stacey glanced at Norma. She 
nodded, brown eyes suddenly filmed. 

Beckoning to Haekstrom, Stacey 
moved back from the window. He whis- 
pered : 

"I'm going in through the door. When 
you hear me kick it open, knock the 
window in with your rifle and cover the 
two guards from your side." 

Haekstrom nodded, and Stacey crept 
toward the door. He paused a moment, 
gathering himself, then threw his shoul- 
der against the panel in a sudden lunge. 
The door burst open amid a crash of 
splintered wood. Stacey catapulted 
into the room beyond. The two guards 
rose half out of their chairs, hands 
reaching instinctively for their guns. 

"Don't!" Stacey warned, levelling 
his rifle. "Stay just as you were." 

"It's no good, son. You've walked 
into a trap." Warren Reddick had sat 
up in his bunk, and was regarding Sta- 
cey sadly. 

The two guards grinned and com- 
pleted their act of reaching for their 
weapons. Stacey stared in dazed in- 
comprehension, Reddick's words flam- 
ing in his mind. Then he realized that 
Haekstrom hadn't carried out his part 
of the strategy. What had happened? 

The two guards had their revolvers 
now. They turned to Stacey. One of 
them spoke. 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



83 



"All right, boyscout. drop your iron! " 

Stacey swung the rifle the little that 
was needed to cover the speaker — and 
pulled the trigger. 

The rifle clicked loudly in the silence. 

Stacey pulled the trigger a few more 
times, then tossed the weapon aside. 
It hadn't been loaded. 

From the doorway came a soft, mock- 
ing chuckle. Devore stepped into the 
room. After him followed Buck, thick 
lips stretched in a huge grin. Then 
came Norma, herded forward at the 
point of Haekstrom's rifle. 

Stacey gazed at Haekstrom bitterly. 
"So you were in with Devore all the 
time, eh?" 

"It pays to be connected with the 
right people," Haekstrom said. 

CHAPTER V 

CTACEY took a deep breath, fighting 
down the sickness inside him. "I 
understand, now. You warned Devore 
about what I was up to, while pretend- 
ing that you had to prepare for the trip 
up here." 

Haekstrom nodded. "Mark had a ten 
minute start on us. He told the boys 
here that you were coming. It was my 
idea to give you an empty rifle and let 
you jump through the door. I intended 
to suggest it if you didn't think of it 
yourself. Mark and Buck were waiting 
behind one of the building outside. All 
we had to do was walk in once you had 
made a fool out of yourself with that 
empty rifle. Both were empty, by the 
way, since I didn't know which one 
you'd pick. I loaded mine later." 

"What about Chinook and the 
burned cabin?" Stacey asked. "Was 
that a trick, too?" 

Haekstrom shook his head. "No. I 
got a tip Chinook was hiding there while 
Mark was gone. We wanted him bad, 
as Chinook knew where the Golden 



Dream was. But when I found the 
cabin, it was the way you saw it." 

Devore chuckled. "Satisfied, Mr. 
Stacey?" 

"As well as I can be, under the cir- 
cumstances," Stacey said, shrugging. 

"I thought I finished you in Seattle," 
Devore said. "This time I'm going to 
be more thorough. One of the reasons 
why this mine was given up is because 
the main shaft leads directly into a huge 
crevice — bottomless, as far as I know. 
And it happens that the roof at that 
part of the shaft is faulty. Knocking 
away just so much as one of the sup- 
ports will cause a cave in. Which is 
just what I intend to do — once you, the 
girl, and Reddick are pushed into the 
crevice." 

Norma released a low cry. Heedless 
of the guns on all sides, she ran to 
where her father sat in the bunk and 
buried her face in his chest, sobbing. 

Devore watched in sardonic amuse- 
ment. "I really hate to add insult to 
injury, Miss Reddick, but I'll have to 
trouble you for your half of the map. 
Mr. Haekstrom told me about the little 
deception which was practiced on me 
in Seattle. Quite clever. I never re- 
alized I had been tricked." 

"You can go to the hotel in Grub- 
stake and get it if you want to," Norma 
snapped. 

"Tut, tut! I'm sure you consider 
the map too valuable to leave in hotel 
rooms, Miss Reddick. I have no doubt 
but that you have the map with you 
right now." 

"I hid it — and it's going to stay hid." 

"I'm afraid you're forcing me to have 
Buck search you." Devore glanced at 
his giant satellite. "You'd like that, 
wouldn't you, Buck?" 

Buck leered. "Sure, chief!" 



N 



ORMA looked at Buck and shud- 
dered. She hesitated a moment, 



34 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



then reached into the neck of her 
blouse. She pulled out an envelope and 
threw it to the floor. "There 1 Just 
keep that monster away from me." 

Devore was unable to hide his gloat- 
ing triumph as he retrieved the en- 
velope and examined its contents. 
"Well, that's that! Since there now is 
no longer any reason for keeping you 
people alive, I suggest that we start for 
the mine at once." 

The volcano of fury and despair 
seething inside Stacey boiled over. He 
reached Devore in two quick steps, and 
his fist smashed squarely into the 
other's face. 

A gun went off. Something burned a 
furrow along Stacey's shoulder. Then 
Buck emitted a bellow of rage and 
rushed at Stacey wildly. Ducking under 
the swing of a huge fist, Stacey plunged 
his fist into the giant's midriff. Buck re- 
leased a grunt of surprise and pain. He 
stood for a moment as though frozen, 
the flat of one hand pressed against the 
injured spot. Stacey swung again. The 
blow caught Buck on the jaw and sent 
him reeling backward, to crash against 
the table. 

Stacey was given no chance to follow 
up. One of the two guards had circled 
behind him, and now the barrel of the 
man's revolver flashed down. The 
room went black. 

O OUGH hands slapped Stacey 
awake. The first person he saw 
wa.-, Haekstrom, who had evidently been 
working over him. Stacey sat up on 
the floor. Pain flashed and roared in- 
side his head. His cheeks burned from 
repeated slaps, and his shoulder was 
st if: and sore where the bullet had 
grazed him. 

Norma was seated on the bunk, with 
her father. Her eyes were red and 
swollen. Reddick looked unutterably 
weary, the lines of his face sagging with 



hopelessness. 

Devore was seated on the table, 
smoking a cigarette. His nose had evi- 
dently bled a lot, and his upper lip was 
discolored and larger than normal. He 
eyed Stacey balefully. 

"I could have had you tossed down 
the crevice while you were out, but that 
way you'd have missed the fun. Now 
that your're awake, we'll get started." 

At an order from Devore, Buck 
hauled Stacey to his feet. Buck didn't 
try to be gentle about it. Great waves 
of agony battered Stacey, threatening 
to engulf him. He clung to awareness 
with dogged effort. 

Devore crushed out his cigarette and 
stood erect. He picked up two lan- 
terns that stood, already lighted, on the 
table, and handed one to Haekstrom. 

"All right, let's go." 

Devore and Haekstrom led the way 
out of the building. Buck followed 
next, clutching the back of Stacey's 
jacket in one hand, and propelling him 
forward with repeated jabs of the re- 
volver in the other. Norma and Red- 
dick brought up the rear, forced along 
by the two guards. Reddick was able 
to hobble along with the aid of a crude 
crutch. He fell several times. 

The procession wound it way over 
the valley floor, toward a rectangular 
opening at the base of a large hill. De- 
vore and Haekstrom strode into the 
opening, their lanterns lighting the way 
for the others in the rear. They were 
swallowed up by a long tunnel that 
slanted steadily downward. The air 
became clammy and dank as the de- 
scent continued. To Stacey, breathing 
it seemed like inhaling the very at- 
mosphere of death itself. The thought 
made realization of what lay ahead sud- 
denly sharp and clear in his mind. 

The tunnel abruptly broadened out, 
ending at the brink of a broad chasm 
fully twenty feet across. It was a nat- 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



ural pocket in the earth, which the man- 
made tunnel had intersected. The roof 
of the cavern was formed by huge rock 
slabs that sagged precariously, pre- 
vented from falling only by numerous 
support beams. 

Devore held his lantern high, and 
glanced at Haekstrom. "Never been 
here before, have you?" 

Haekstrom shook his head. A grow- 
ing unease showed on his broad face. 

Devore gestured at the crevice. 
"Nothing to worry about. There's no 
bottom to this thing. Just take a look." 

Haekstrom peered cautiously over 
the edge of the chasm, extending his 
lantern over it. Devore smiled slightly 
— and pushed. Haekstrom vanished. 
He left a scream behind him, a scream 
that seemed to go on and on, growing 
fainter, before is suddenly ended. 

"One less to divide with," Devore 
said cheerfully. He looked at Stacey. 
"See what I have in mind for you? How 
do you like the idea?" 

"You're mad to think you can get 
away with it," Stacey pointed out. 
"We'll be missed. Sooner or later the 
authorities will connect you with our 
disappearance." 

"They'll never prove anything," De- 
vore returned confidently. "You'll be 
hundreds of feet under the earth, buried 
under tons of rock and sand. Anyway, 
you were last seen with Haekstrom — 
and Haekstrom's dead. No trail lead- 
ing to me there. Chinook Vervain might 
have been able to figure things out, but 
he's dead, too." Devore's air of studied 
suavity abruptly vanished. His sharp 
features became set and cruel. "I've 
wasted enough time on you. The sooner 
I get this over with, the better I'll like it. 
Buck — over with them! " 

CTACEY felt Buck's great trap-like 
hands close inexorably over him. 
He heard Norma scream. 



Then, with stunning unexpectedness, 
came the repeated, insistent honking of 
an auto horn. 

Buck gasped, and involuntarily re- 
leased Stacey. Devore stood as though 
frozen, staring toward the tunnel 
mouth. 

The honking came again. 

"Somebody's outside!" Devore 
hissed. He whirled to Buck. "Give 
me your gun. I'll watch these people. 
You go with Hank and Matt and see 
who's out there." 

Buck obeyed the orders automatic- 
ally. Shortly he disappeared up the tun- 
nel with the two guards. 

Devore placed his lantern on a rocky 
projection and settled down to wait. 
He kept licking his lips nervously, 
glancing from Stacey to the tunnel en- 
trance. 

In another moment the sound of 
shots rang out, striking like sudden 
thunder into the tense stillness. It 
startled Devore into inattention for just 
the instant Stacey had been waiting for. 
He left the ground in a leap, catching 
Devore about the legs. They hit the 
ground in a squirming tangle, a scant 
dozen feet from the edge of the chasm. 

Once he had recovered from the sur- 
prise of Stacey's attack, Devore fought 
like a madman. His struggles were the 
frenzied struggles of one who has had 
victory within his grasp and feels it 
slipping away. He had dropped his 
weapon in falling, his fingers having 
splayed instinctively to clutch for sup- 
port. The gun had hit the ground a 
few feet short of the crevice. Devore 
sought frantically to kick loose from 
Stacey in the effort to regain it. 

Stacey was unable to maintain his 
grip. He rolled aside. Quick as a cat, 
Devore scrambled to hands and knees 
and lunged for the gun. Stacey caught 
Devore's jerkily retreating ankles and 
pulled desperately. Devore was 



86 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



stretched flat on his chest, the wind 
leaving him in a pained gasp. But in 
the next instant, threshing wildly, he 
broke Stacey's hold on his ankles, 
whirled, and pushed himself erect. 

As Stacey climbed to his feet, Devore 
closed in with a barrage of swift, numb- 
ing punches. Momentarily confused, 
Stacey gave ground, shielding his face. 

Norma cried: "Gregg — look out! 
The edge!" 

Stacey stopped barely in time. He 
ducked under pistoning jabs of De- 
vore's fists and caught the other around 
the waist. They wrestled for some sec- 
onds with quiet savagery, one straining 
away, the other pushing toward, the 
brink of the chasm. 

Slowly, slowly, teeth clenched, face 
beaded with sweat, Stacey forced De- 
vore back. Then, suddenly, he broke 
free and began to hammer in blows of 
his own. Devore dodged away, but 
Stacey closed in quickly and relentless- 
ly. He battered down Devore's guard, 
and while it was down, shot a numbing 
punch to the other's middle, following 
it almost instantly with a piledriver 
cross to the jaw 7 . 

t^ YES glassy, Devore went staggering 
backward. He teetered for a mo- 
ment on the edge of the chasm — and 
then he was gone. 

"Good work, lad!" a deep voice ap- 
proved. 

It was a voice that Stacey had never 
heard before. He turned puzzledly. 

A man strode into the circle of light 
cast by the lantern. He was short and 
thick-set, with deeply tanned features 
that had a faintly Indian cast. His lips 
were parted in a broad smile, revealing 
large teeth that seemed startlingly white 
by contrast with his skin. He wore a 
wool jacket, with denim trousers stuffed 
into boots. A battered felt hat was 
pushed to the back of his head, reveal- 



ing grizzled black hair. He held a rifle 
in the crook of one arm. 

"Chinook!" Warren Reddick gasped. 
"Chinook!" He hobbled forward with 
his crutch and grasped the other's arm 
unbelievingly. "But . . . but Devore 
said you were dead!" 

Chinook Vervain's smile broadened 
still more. "It didn't hurt anything to 
let him and his friends think so. I 
burned the cabin down on purpose, 
leaving a bear I had killed inside, so 
that when the bones were found, people 
would think I had burned up with the 
cabin. Devore and Haekstrom were 
trying to find me, and were getting a 
little too close for comfort. Especially 
Haekstrom. He was trying to beat De- 
vore out of the Golden Dream." 

"But how did you get here?" Stacey 
demanded. "And where's Buck and 
the other two men?" 

"I saw you and Miss Reddick up at 
the burned cabin with Haekstrom this 
afternoon," Vervain explained. "I do 
all my hunting up there, so it wasn't 
just luck. I knew Haekstrom was in 
with Devore, and decided I'd better 
keep an eye on you and Miss Reddick. 
It wasn't so easy, because Haekstrom 
and Devore had cars, and I have to do 
my traveling on a horse. I followed you, 
Miss Reddick, and Haekstrom when 
you left Grubstake this evening. The 
tire tracks of the car led me to the 
Trump Card. Riding a horse, I got 
here almost too late. 

"But I saw Devore and Haekstrom 
taking the bunch of you down into the 
mine, and guessed what was going on. I 
couldn"t tackle Devore and the others 
all at once, so I waited until they went 
into the mine. Then I pressed the horn 
of Devore's car which he'd parked be- 
hind one of the old mine buildings not 
far away. When Buck and the other 
two came running out of the mine, I 
picked them off as easy as eating pie." 



QUEST OF THE SPLIT MAP 



Reddick grinned and thumped Chi- 
nook's shoulder. He seemed younger 
and stronger already. He glanced at 
Stacey and Norma. 

"There's a lot more to be explained, I 
think, but first I'd like to get out of 
here. After all the time I've spent 
cooped up in this place, there's nothing 
more I want right now than to have 
lights, noise, and people around me." 

Chinook hurried to comply. He took 
the lantern, and with Reddick limping 
at his side, lead the way out of the tun- 
nel. 

Stacey and Norma followed slowly. 
Stacey was thoughtful. 

"With Chinook alive, we won't have 
any trouble about filing a claim to the 
Golden Dream. That means we're as 
good as rich right now. I . . . ah . . . 
suppose that with your share, you'll 



open up that dress shop you men- 
tioned." 

"I suppose so," Norma murmured. 

"About myself," Stacey went on, 
even more thoughtfully, "I think I'm 
going to stay here and help your 
father run the business — including the 
Golden Dream as part of it. This is a 
nice country. Clean, with plenty of el- 
bow room. Good place to raise children, 
too." 

"Wonderful country," Norma agreed. 

Stacey said desperately, "But it 
wouldn't be wonderful at all unless a 
certain girl — That is . . . well, look, 
Norma, wouldn't you rather open up a 
little cottage instead of that doggoned 
dress shop of yours?" 

Norma grinned. "I think the idea 
has a dress shop beat hollow!" 
THE END 



RUFFIAN DICK: EXPLORER 

^T By ROBERT CLAYTON ^r 



LITTLE known to the world at large in the 
19th century, there lived a great man. He 
» will not be remembered for the good things 
he has done; there was nothing of the humani- 
tarian in him. A selfish adventurous soul, he was 
completely consumed by one feverish desire, to 
do what others dared not attempt, to make him- 
self notorious by his daring. And yet, this com- 
pletely self-centered mania which possessed him 
demonstrated that even it could be utilized in the 
discovery of Truth. 

Richard Burton was an explorer of great, but 
unrealized, worth. It was not until years after 
his death that the value of his wonderings was 
established. He was born in England in March 
of the year 1821. His father, a retired army of- 
ficer, suffered from asthma. Seeking relief from 
his suffering, he led his family from one country 
to another and returned to England. Young 
Richard, as a result, was learning Greek at the 
age of three, and Latin at the age of four. He 
was unusually receptive and attentive to all the 
languages he heard in those youthful days; he 
was all his life to be a great language-learner 



and language-user. They were the means to de- 
veloping and satisfying his curiosity, ways of 
escape from that sense of frustration that was 
to haunt him all his days. 

Voung Richard was a continual source of worry 
to his parents. His pranks caused him to be re- 
garded first as an imp and then as a scoundrel in 
theij eyes. In Pisa Mt. Vesuvius loomed mysteri- 
ously for him on the horizon. There was nothing 
for him to do but explore it for himself. He wasn't 
content with reaching the crater, for the fumes 
twisting slow wreathings of smoke far below his 
feet intrigued him considerably. He had himself 
lowered to investigate and, as a result, was al- 
most suffocated. 

In 1840, though not yet twenty years of age, 
he was sent to Oxford, to Trinity College, in the 
company of his brother Edward. Trinity, as 
might be expected, bored, infuriated and amused 
Richard. He bought a gun and amused himself 
on the campus with it. He took to rowing, to 
fencing, to anything but lectures. Only one sub- 
ject interested him and that was the study of 
(Continued on page 159) 



VALIANT 



The glories of conquest were gone from New 
Spain. In their place marched a haggard troop 
of soldiery bent on a futile mission of death 



GONE now was the great show of 
pageantry. The banners no 
longer fluttered proudly in the 
blazing sun of New Spain, and the ar- 
mored soldiers of Charles "i had lost 
their great air of bravado. The raw 
land had reached up to smite the con- 
quistadors, and the glory of the Span- 
ish Crown dragged in the dust. Coro- 
nado had said, "We fear not for our 
lives, for the arm of the true God is 
over us." But it seemed to every man, 
from mounted cavalier to lowly foot 
soldier, that only the dark spirit, El 
Diablo, traveled with them. 



The advance patrol of Don Carlos de 
Hernandez, who was as fanatical as 
Coronado himself, wasted itself upon 
the unknown desert and, if this mad- 
ness continued, was surely doomed. 

''Me thinks," even Don Carlos be- 
gan to say, "that this heathen devil 
of an Indio lies." 

His doubt was confided only to his 
nephew, Don Miguel Cordova, a very 
young man who was fresh from Spain 
and upon his virgin adventure. But 
Don Miguel was not surprised. He too 
had suspicions of the native guide, a 
cunning fellow who talked a few words 




?~r**mL~ 



Th« min i«y in a pitiful h»ap on the ground, hit armt tpread limp and llfeltis 



89 



90 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



of the white man's tongue, learned from 
the good friars, and professed to be a 
Christian. But ... a wondrous city 
called Quivira, where there was a great 
tree hung with countless bells of pure 
gold — where every native possessed 
dishes of the same bright metal, as well 
as jugs and images and all manner of 
ornaments? To even so young and in- 
experienced a man as Don Miguel, it 
seemed beyond belief. Yet it was Qui- 
vira that the conquistadors sought. 

"Don Miguel . . ." 

The cry came from an agonized 
throat. Don Miguel turned his gaunted 
mount about and saw that yet another 
man had fallen. The eighth in two 
days. Madre de Diosl thought Miguel, 
and felt pity in his heart. That he too 
might die here in this empty land 
seemed a certainty, yet his heart could 
go out to these other wretched humans. 

He saw how the foot soldiers — only 
the two caballeros were mounted — ■ 
straggled in a ragged line. They were 
crossbowmen, arquebusiers and swords- 
men, transported across the seas and 
now turned into sorry creatures by the 
desert. No longer did the dream of 
riches lay in their dulled eyes. No 
fanaticism drove them, as it did the 
fierce Don Carlos. But the Indian 
bearers, who came last, moved steadily 
under their burdens and were un- 
touched by blazing sun and scorching 
heat. "They are the children of this 
land," thought Miguel, "and so it can- 
not harm them." 

"Miguel, come along!" 

Don Carlos was shouting from his 
place at the head of the column. He 
was looking back at his nephew, and 
the fires of hell seemed to glitter in his 
black eyes. He had a hawkish beak of 
a nose,a cruel traplike mouth. Don 
Carlos was one of Coronado's most 
trusted captains. There was no mercy 
in him, no sympathy for the weak. If 



a man fell, he remained where he fell. 
Again Don Carlos bellowed, "Miguel, 
come along!" 

But the fallen man cried out, "Have 
mercy — I" 

Miguel was swayed. He ignored his 
uncle's command, risked Don Carlos' 
temper. He rode back and dismounted. 
He took the goatskin waterbag from his 
saddle, and he knelt — with an effort 
because of his armor — to give the sol- 
dier water. The goatskin was more 
than half empty when the man ended 
his greedy gulping. "Gracias, Don 
Miguel . . . you are a good man." 

"You must get to your feet, Mateo." 

"I cannot." 

"I will help you, my friend. And 
you will ride my horse." 

That was unthinkable, a mere cross- 
bowman riding while a Castillian don 
walked; the soldier shook his head. 
"Leave me," he said, but Miguel's arms 
were already about him, already lifting 
him. 

Miguel got him onto the horse, then 
handed him his heavy crossbow and 
sheath of arrows. They went on, and 
a life had been saved. For how long, 
Miguel did not know. 

HPHEY made night camp by a great 
arroyo. Tana had promised that 
there would be life-giving water in the 
creek bed, and there was none at all. 
The Indian was a squat man of middle 
age; he had a bland sort of face, but 
his darkeyes were full of guile. He 
wore a religious emblem from a chain 
about his neck, the gift of the friars 
with whom he had associated. He 
showed chagrin as Don Carlos, in a 
black temper, questioned him about 
their failure to find water. But it seemed 
to the watching young Miguel that 
Tana was not at all put out; it seemed 
that the Indian had known from the 
start that his promise of water would 



VALIANT DUST 



91 



not be fulfilled. 

"One day's march," Tana now said, 
in his bad Spanish. "We come then to 
the land of the humped cibolo — cattle 
bigger than those of the white men. 
And there is Quivira." 

Quivira! 

The name fell from the Indian's lips 
with a magic sound. And perhaps he 
believed in it. But Miguel knew, with- 
out understanding why, that there was 
no such wondrous city. Tana lied, 
whether he knew it or not, and he was 
leading the patrol to its death. Miguel 
looked at his uncle. Don Carlos had 
removed his flanged helmet; he sat 
upon a rock, a big man with pointed 
beard and bristling mustaches. He 
stared at Tana with a cruel smile, and 
he said. "One day's march. . . . Then 
it is either Quivira or I will have your 
tongue out!" 

Miguel saw Tana's ready answering 
smile, and he turned away in disgust. 
He had lost faith; what was to have 
been a glorious adventure, a quest to 
add land and wealth to the Spanish 
Crown, had degenerated into a shabby 
effort of a band of men to stand off a 
creeping death. There was no glory, 
nothing but greed motivated Don Car- 
los .. . for Miguel knew that his 
uncle was impoverished and was seek- 
ing to find riches for himself — so that 
he might retire comfortably to Spain — 
rather than to raise the banner of Spain 
over a fabulous city. Greed was Don 
Carlos' fanaticism, his madness. 

The campfires glowed red, pushed 
back the eerie desert night. The Span- 
iards hunkered down, munching their 
half-rotted food and sipping their wine 
— when what they really needed was a 
bellyful of water. They talked in low, 
uneasy voices ; they stayed close to the 
brush fires, like children afraid of the 
dark. The Indian bearers, actually 
slaves, kept apart from the white men 



and talked among themselves in their 
unintelligible tongue. Miguel went be- 
yond the camp and peered into the 
darkness, almost as though hoping to 
see something of what the Indian guide 
promised — a fine city, wells full of 
crystal clear water, the great humped 
cattle, gold that did not need to be 
mined. ... He believed none of it. 
but in his heart he still faintly hoped. 
He stepped by a growth of jagged 
cactus, heard a rattling sound, and 
drew his sword while his heart for an 
instant stood still. A creature slithered 
toward him; a snake struck at his leg, 
fangs against the steel greave protect- 
ing the leg. Miguel struck down with 
the sword, then withdrew back to the 
camp. He was a man greatly shaken. 

A DARK figure loomed, a man com- 
ing to meet Miguel. It was Mateo, 
the crossbowman, now somewhat re- 
covered from his weakness of mid-day. 

"Something is wrong, Don Miguel?" 

Miguel saw that the soldier had his 
crossbow loaded and ready. He said, 
"Nothing Mateo. Nothing but a snake." 

Mateo shuddered. "This land is lost 
to the devil," he whispered. "Only hel! 
could be so bad. The men are say- 
in. . . ." 

"Saying what, friend?" 

Mateo hesitated, as though afraid his 
words would bring him trouble. But 
then: "They are saying that the Indian 
is leading us deeper and deeper across 
this barrens, so that we will die terribly. 
They say he hates all men whose faces 
are white. And Don Carlos — " 

"They are saying Don Carlos is 
mad?" Miguel prompted as the soldier 
broke off. "It may well be ... I will 
talk again to my uncle." 

He walked through the camp and 
found Don Carlos still perched upon 
the boulder, like a man enthroned, but 
now wrapped in his once proud but now 



92 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



shabby cassock. One thing about Don 
Carlos, Miguel realized, was his cour- 
age. He had the heart of a lion, and 
he feared nothing on earth. He was 
proud and arrogant, and he would go 
on even though he lost every man of the 
patrol. 

A lanky, hatchet-faced soldier sat 
crosslegged on the ground before the 
don. He was the patrol's scribe, and 
in the glow of a fire he was writing 
upon parchment with a quill dipped in 
ink. Don Carlos was dictating in a low 
voice, and finally he said, "Now I will 
make my mark and affix my seal." 

Quill and parchment were handed to 
Don Carlos, and he made his mark. 
The scribe heated wax, dabbed some 
upon the parchment, and Don Carlos 
pressed his signet ring upon the seal. 
He looked up at Miguel with a friendly 
smile that was a rare thing. 

"I am making ready for the event of 
my death, my nephew," he said. He 
rolled the parchment and handed it to 
Miguel. ''Should I not live out this 
adventure, then you shall inherit the 
de Hernandez estate in Spain." He 
lifted his hand as though to halt any 
protest Miguel might utter. "No; it 
must be so. You and I, Miguel, are 
all the remain of our family. It is good 
that my property should go to you." 

"I am overwhelmed," said Miguel, 
yet he knew that all that remained to 
Don Carlos' estate was a farm of little 
worth. "But what if I do not live, 
uncle?" 

"You should make some disposal of 
the rich lands you inherited from your 
father, Miguel," said Don Carlos. "You 
might have made such a document as 
this one I have given you — in my name. 
Although, you are young and strong 
and will surely live to see Spain 
again ..." He looked at Miguel with 
his bright eyes oddly veiled. "But it 
is a matter for you to decide." 



Miguel nodded. He saw that there 
was wisdom in his uncle. It would be 
a good thing to make sure that the 
Cordova estate did not pass out of the 
family in the event that he, Don 
Miguel, lost his life. He feared Don 
Carlos, yet he respected him. And who 
could say that blood was not a strong 
tie? Miguel said, "I will sign such a 
document, Don Carlos," and so had the 
scribe write out the testament. Unlike 
his uncle, Miguel had learned to read 
and write. He signed the parchment 
with a steady hand, then gave it to Don 
Carlos. 

"But we must not die here," he said. 
"I ask you, my uncle, to turn back be- 
fore it is too late." 

The friendliness went out of the 
older man's manner, and now his face 
darkened with quick rage. "I ask no 
sniveling boy for advice," he all but 
shouted. 

And Miguel then knew for a cer- 
tainty that Don Carlos had no real 
doubts about the existence of a golden 
city called Quivira. 

HTHAT night Miguel nearly died. He 
awoke and was .suffocating. Some 
heavy cloth had been .thrown over his 
face; it was his own velvet cassock. 
The cassock was held -in place, to 
smother his breath and his voice, by 
strong hands that were also closed hard 
about his throat. Terror gripped his 
mind, and for an instant he could not 
fight back. Blackness seeped into his 
brain. His lungs seemed ready to burst 
for want of air. But then he managed 
to get a dagger from its sheath and into 
his hand. He raised the weapon and 
struck blindly. The blade struck against 
his assailant's breastplate, and slid off. 
He thrust again and again, trying to 
strike flesh. He was squirming, fight- 
ing, now with a wildness. Then the 
throttling hands left his throat. The 



VALIANT DUST 



93 



weight of his attacker was lifted from 
his weakening body. 

Miguel lay gasping, still feebly strik- 
ing out with the dagger. But his attack- 
er was gone, and he was safe ... at 
the very moment when he would have 
lost consciousness. He was too shaken 
in his mind to throw the smothering 
cassock from his face, but now that the 
choking pressure was gone he could get 
enough air even through the heavy 
cloth. His throat ached, was swollen 
thick, and there was a numbness all 
through him. 

Finally some of the weakness left 
him. He flung aside the cassock. He 
sucked in great gulps of air. He saw 
the night sky, the stars. He pushed 
himself up on his elbows and looked 
about. The camp seemed asleep in its 
entirety. No lurking figure moved 
about in flight. Men lay sprawled, un- 
moving. Miguel looked toward where 
Don Carlos slept . . . His uncle lay 
nearest him, not more than ten paces 
off; but Miguel could hear the rattly 
snore of Don Carlos' breathing, and it 
seemed that he must be asleep. Yet 
someone had tried to murder him; Mi- 
guel fiad only to feel of his throat to 
know that it had not been a mere night- 
mare. 

He rose, reaching for his waterbag. 
He drank and his mind seemed to clear. 
He stood thinking, knowing ... It had 
beeti Don Carlos. The soldiers had 
nothing against him, so they had no 
reason to want him dead. But that 
document he had signed and given to 
Don Carlos ! It was reason enough for 
murder, to a greed-mad man. Despair, 
if not hatred, filled the heart of Miguel. 
He moved toward his uncle, the dagger 
still in his hand. He stood over Don 
Carlos, a wild desire to kill in him — 
a urgent need to get back that docu- 
ment gripping him. 

But Miguel hesitated. He could not 



kill Don Carlos! 

He shuddered and went back to his 
bed-place, but he did not close his eyes 
in sleep during the remainder of the 

night. 

'""THE sun climbed into the brassy 
sky. Against the desert's distant 
rim, a heat haze shimmered in con- 
stant waves. The pathetic column 
moved on, heading northward once 
more, driven by Don Carlos' mocking 
voice. The morning ration of water 
had been parcelled out; so much for 
Don Carlos, a little less to Don Miguel 
Cordova, a smaller amount to each 
foot soldier, and even less to the In- 
dians. Tana, the fool, had taken his 
in an earthenware bowl and then had 
deliberately spilled it to the dust. He 
had grinned wolfishly at the watching 
white men, had mocked them. "Agua," 
he had said. "Water — end of day's 
march." 

Miguel thought of that as he rode 
along behind Don Carlos. It had been 
a crazy thing, throwing away water 
that was worth all the gold that was 
supposed to be at Quivira. Or was it 
crazy? wondered Miguel. It might be 
that Tana was merely baiting the Span- 
iards on. 

Miguel's horse was dying under him. 
Miguel himself was in bad shape, per- 
haps out of the fear forced upon him 
by last night's attempt upon his life. 
His throat still hurt, proof enough of 
how close a call it had been. He 
watched his uncle, sought guilt in the 
man, but Don Carlos was not a per- 
son to reveal his hidden thoughts. Even 
now, Don Carlos said, "Miguel, you 
are silent this day? Has the desert 
sickness gotten you?" 

They rode side by side, the failing 
horses slowed to an uncertain walk. 
Miguel said, "I was nearly murdered 
in my sleep in the night." 



94 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Murdered?" said Don Carlos, and 
swore a round oath. "My nephew set 
upon by a murderer? Who was the 
blackguard? Name him, Miguel, and 
I will cut his heart out!" 

Miguel had hoped to startle the older 
man into some sign of guilt. But Don 
Carlos was a fox as well as a lion, and, 
as Miguel made no answer, he said, 
"One of the natives, I swear!" 

Miguel's horse stopped, quivering 
in every muscle. Its eyes had a wild 
look. Miguel dismounted, and none 
too soon. The animal collapsed, a vic- 
tim of its thirst. Miguel removed the 
waterbag from the saddle, and there 
was nothing more to salvage. He looked 
up and found Don Carlos watching him 
with a thin smile. "Ah, well," said the 
older man, "you are young and strong." 

Tana too had stopped to watch. His 
eyes were malignant. 

Miguel learned the agony of being 
afoot on the endless desert. He re- 
moved the steel greaves from his legs, 
threw them away . . . and later re- 
lieved himself of the weight of his 
breastplate. His helmet he retained 
as protection against the sun; he kept 
too his sword and his dagger, for a 
soldier must not abandon his arms. 

The sun climbed overhead, began the 
descent westward. The partol lost two 
more of its men ; they fell and the scant 
portion of water that could be afforded 
them was no help at all. The survivors 
complained with despairing mutters, 
but Don Carlos was too much their 
master for mutiny to flare. The mad- 
ness continued, and now there seemed 
no escape at all. To turn back meant 
death, for now even that chance was 
gone. 

HPHE sun arced downward, a fiery 

red ball at the desert's rim. Don 

Carlos called a halt. He was by some 

miracle still mounted, and the man 



showed little strain. But then Don 
Carlos had had the lion's share of the 
precious water. He called up two of 
the arquebusiers and ordered them to 
lay down their firearms. He pointed 
to Tana. 

"Seize the heathen," he ordered. 

The Indian guide was roughly seized, 
and Don Carlos said, "Stake him out." 

The order was quickly obeyed, and 
the Indian soon lay spread-eagled and 
helpless on the ground. A fire of brush 
was built up, a knife blade heated to 
a glowing red. Dismounted now, Don 
Carlos received the blade and walked 
to the Indian. This was a game a con- 
quistador really understood! 

"A liar and a fool are one," said 
Don Carlos. "Heathen, you will talk. 
You will tell us how to reach Quivira! " 

"Manana," said Tana. 

"No, not tomorrow, heathen. Now 

)) 

Miguel had to turn away. He heard 
the Indian's wild scream. His nostrils 
caught the odor of burning flesh. He 
was sickened, and his whole nature re- 
volted. It went on and on until Miguel 
could stand no more. He swung around, 
shouting, "Enough, Don Carlos. I, for 
one, can stand no more!" 

Don Carlos looked up. "Ah? You 
cross me, nephew?" 

"You are the fool! " Miguel said wild- 
ly. "You should know there is no 
place like this Quivira. This Indian 
for some secret reason hates us Span- 
iards—perhaps for some wrong done 
him or his people. He has lied, but he 
is no fool. He has baited us into this 
devil's den, and now we are lost — just 
as he wanted. But I will have no more 
of this madness!" 

"Mutiny!" said Don Carlos, rising. 

He flung away the torture knife. He 
was smiling with some evil thought, as 
though this was a thing he found to 
his liking. And to Miguel it was sud- 



VALIANT DUST 



95 



denly very clear ; Don Carlos had failed 
to murder him in the night, but now 
he had his victim in an even better trap. 
Don Carlos would never find the gol- 
den city of Quivira, but he was hoping 
to escape from the desert — to return 
to Spain and claim for himself the rich 
Cordova estate. He would have Mi- 
guel die, here, now. It was a thought 
alive in the glittering black eyes. 

"Seize this mutineer," ordered Don 
Carlos. 

The haggard, dull-eyed soldiers 
stared and were unmoving. A kind- 
ness occasionally given now repaid Don 
Miguel Cordova. Don Carlos saw that 
here was more mutiny, and he swore 
with a great blasphemy. He drew his 
great sword with a flourish. 

"Be my witnesses," he said. "I pun- 
ish a mutineer ! " 

He lunged at Miguel, whose armor 
had that day been discarded. Miguel 
dodged the first deadly blow, then drew 
his own sword. The naked blades 
glinted dully in the fading light. The 
two men fought with savage strokes, 
with lightning thrusts. Don Carlos 
drew first blood, a stab to Miguel's left 
arm. The soldiers made way for them. 
The Indian stared with dull fascina- 
tion. The tortured Tana forgot his 
own pain to strain in his bounds and 
watch. Miguel's blade glanced off Don 
Carlos' armor. He was beaten back 
and back. But he could move more 
quickly. And now he swung a great 
stroke. The blades clashed, and Don 
Carlos' weapon was knocked from his 
hand. Miguel held his point to his 
uncle's throat. 

"T SHOULD kill you," he said, gasp- 
ing for breath. "But I let you 
live because you are of my own blood. 
You will harken, Don Carlos — I am 
taking command. We shall forget 
Quivira, and try to find our way out of 



this death trap. Mutiny? Well enough. 
I shall stand before Coronado, if we 
live." 

He turned from Don Carlos, and had 
his slight arm wound bandaged by one 
of the soldiers. Then he went to Tana. 
"Mateo," he ordered, "release this poor 
devil." 

He could see that the Indian was 
dying. Don Carlos' torture had not 
loosened a tongue but it had taken a 
life. A sip of water was given to Tana, 
and then he talked to the Indian bear- 
ers. He talked long, and the others 
nodded. Finally Tana turned his dull- 
ing eyes toward Miguel. 

"It is good to find one a man with a 
clean heart among the Spaniards," he 
said in his awkward Spanish. His voice 
was weak, a mere whisper. "I have 
told my people to take you out of the 
desert, amigo. Water is not so far. 
You will be safe — " A shudder swept 
over him. Then: "There is no Qui- 
vira. . . ." 

Miguel rose from kneeling beside the 
dying Indian. Then he heard the sol- 
dier Mateo cry out some warning. He 
turned and saw Don Carlos lunging at 
him, almost on him, a dagger striking 
down. Fear clutched at Miguel. He 
tried to jump backward, but he tripped 
and fell. Don Carlos bent over him, his 
black eyes full of a look of triumph. 
But the knife blade missed Miguel's 
throat by a scant margin. A crossbow 
had twanged. An arrow drove through 
the neck of Don Carlos. The don 
fell. He died hard. . . . 

HPHE sun was gone. A purplish haze 
lay over the desert. The Indian 
bearers were already setting out, to lead 
the way to water as Tana had ordered 
them. Two shallow graves had been 
opened, and were now filled in. Rocks 
were gathered. A cairn was raised. The 
small, pathetic band of conquistadors 



96 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



stood by the burying-place. The cross- 
bowman, Mateo, was pale and shaken. 
He had killed a Spanish don, one 
of Coronado's captains, and that meant 
punishment. 

Miguel read Mateo's unspoken fears. 
He stooped and picked the arrow which 
had been withdrawn from the dead 
man's neck. He snapped it in two 



across his knee. He threw the broken 
pieces to the dust. 

"Don Carlos de Hernandez died," 
he said, "of the desert sickness." 

He turned and walked after the In- 
dians, followed by his sorry band. And 
what would tell, if men did not, the 
secrets of the trail to Quivira? 
THE END 



FEMALE BLUEBEARD 

(Continued from page 62) 



Belle's ad from Elbow Lake, Minnesota. With 
him was the tidy sum of one thousand dollars 
to be used to pay off the mortgage on his in- 
tended farm. For almost a week he was seen 
about the house. Then one day he wasn't there. 
John Moo has never been seen since. 

George Anderson was the next to arrive, and 
like both Peter Gunness and John Moo was a 
Norwegian by birth. Demonstrating a certain 
well-placed wariness of the "kind and honest" 
widow, Anderson did not bring much money with 
him to Belle's place. Attracted by Belle's de- 
scription of herself in one of the marriage papers, 
Anderson made the trip to LaPorte with the in- 
tention of matrimony. After the usual amenities, 
George was seriously considering returning home 
to get what might be termed the entrance fee and 
then marrying the woman, but something oc- 
curred to make him throw aside these plans. 
During his stay at the farm he awoke in the 
night and broke out in a cold sweat at finding 
himself meeting the gaze of Belle who had been 
peering intently into his face, a lighted candle in 
her hand. What she intended to do, if anything, 
George never found out. With a yell he leaped 
out of bed, into his clothes, and out the door 
as fast as he could go. At the railroad depot, the 
frightened Mr. Anderson hopped the first train 
for his home town. 

In the next few months Ray Lamphere was 
hired to help out on the farm. It was about this 
time that young Jennie Olson took a trip to 
California, as Belle explained to the neighbors. 
Jennie was never seen after that midsummer of 
1906. 

The Gunness farm began to assume an aura of 
mystery. Hack drivers in La Porte told of de- 
livering trunks at night. The neighbors noted 
Belle kept the shutters on her house tightly drawn 
both day and night. Farmers going by late at 
night often saw Belle herself on the prowl, around 
her barn or in a small yard some fifty by seventy- 
five feet which she had recently enclosed with 
an eight-foot fence of stout and fine wire mesh. 

The cellar of the house was always kept locked 
except during the hog butchering season. At 



these times a stray neighbor or two had happened 
to call when Belle was in the cellar, her sleeves 
rolled up, wielding a knife and cleaver with un- 
usual skill. All around the room lay implements 
of the butchering profession. 

The stream of suitors continued in 1907 and 
1908. Ole Budsberg arrived with $2,000 in his 
pocket and Andrew K. Helgelein with $3,000 and 
neither has ever been seen since. Belle's smooth 
plans seemed to be clicking in good order, that 
is, until she and Lamphere had a disagreement. 
He, like many another poor man, had fallen in 
love with her. Jealousy had made him pack up 
his belongings and leave. In LaPorte he told 
friends that Belle owed him back wages. He in- 
timated that he knew enough about Belle to make 
her pay him not only his wages but to keep his 
mouth shut, too. 

Lamphere's talking must have frightened Belle. 
She had him arrested on complaint that he was 
insane and a menace to the public. Found sane 
by the court, he was promptly released. And then 
trouble came from another quarter. A letter ar- 
rived from Mr. Asle Helgelein wanting to know 
what had become of his brother, Andrew. 

Belle Gunness was worried. She told an at- 
torney in LaPorte that she was mortally in fear 
of Roy Lamphere, the ex-hired man. She said 
he had threatened to kill her and promised to 
burn her house down. With these threats hang- 
ing over her she wanted to make out her will. 
There was nothing out of order about the will. 
It left her estate to her three children. In case 
the children did not survive her, the estate was 
to go to a Norwegian orphanage in Chicago. 

On the day following the signing of the will, 
farmers on the McClung Road saw the Gunness 
home in flames. It burned to the ground. Only 
the hired man, Joe Maxon, escaped, and he said 
he barely made it. Noise of the flames licking 
at his room had awakened him, he said, and he 
jumped out his second-story window in his un- 
derwear. He vowed that just before jumping he 
had shouted loudly to wake Mrs. Gunness and 
the children but had received no reply. They had 
been in the house when he went to bed. 

When the embers had cooled slightly, searchers 
found four bodies. Three were readily identified 
as those of Belle's daughters, and of Philip Gun- 
ness, her son. The other corpse was the headless 
body of a woman. All four were found on a 



FEMALE BLUEBEARD 



97 



mattress in the cellar. On top of them were the 
charred remains of Belle's fine upright piano. 

The first move made by the sheriff was to 
arrest Roy Lamphere. A neighbor's boy claimed 
he had seen Lamphere running from the Gun- 
ness place just before the flames were noticed. 
Lamphere was indicted for murder; and a charge 
of arson was left hanging over him, just in case 
the other charge wasn't sufficient. The victim 
named in the murder charge was Mrs. Gunness 
But soon people began to wonder whether the 
headless body belonged to Mrs. Gunness. 

Those who had seen her, talked with her, and 
did business with her, were quick to state that 
the body was too small to be that of Belle Gun- 
ness. Physicians measured the charred remains 
of the headless woman. Making proper allow- 
ances for the missing head and neck, they con- 
cluded that the corpse was that of a woman 
five feet three inches tall weighing about one 
hundred and fifty pounds. Belle, as those who 
knew her agreed, had not been a hair under five 
feet seven and weighed at least 180 pounds if 
not more. 

Clerks in the town who had sold Mrs. Gunness 
various articles of wearing apparel were inter- 
viewed, and they were able to furnish valuable 
information as to her clothing sizes. These fig- 
ures were compared with measurements made by 
the examining physicians. The two sets of figures 
indicated that the body found in the cellar must 
be that of someone other than Belle. 

While the baffled authorities busied themselves 
in the hunt for the head or the skull of the corpse, 
Asle Helgelein appeared on the scene. He was 
the brother of Andrew and had come in search 
of him. He told the sheriff of his fears that 
Andrew had somehow been done in by this 
woman he had come to marry. 

A very thorough inspection of the grounds 
followed. The diggers went to work in the high- 
fenced yard. Under the soft earth they came 
upon rubbish of every sort. Among the dis- 
order of old cans and bottles lay an innocent 
looking sack. Andrew's remains were found in- 
side, hacked up but still in a recognizable con- 
dition. Before sun-down that same day, four 
more bodies were unearthed. One of these was 
identified as Jennie Olson, the girl who had gone 
to California. After the third day of digging in 
the yard, a total of ten bodies were found. So 
many bodies and unrelated parts of skeletons 
were found that it was hard to estimate just 
how many people had met their end at the 
Gunness farm. 

A rumor grew and spread in LaPorte. 

Dr. Ira P. Norton, a LaPorte dentist, recalled 
that he had done some dental work for the 
"late" Mrs. Gunness, work which he could easily 
identify if found. The problem at this point of 
the Investigation was how to sift the ashes and 
debris of a large house and find a few small 
teeth. Louis Schultz, a public-spirited citizen of 
the town, heard of the quandary and went to 



the officers with a suggestion. He offered to put 
all his talents, acquired in the Yukon as a cnld 
miner, at their disposal. With some lumber he 
could build a regular gold-mine sluice box right 
on Belle's place. The Schultz offer was readily 
accepted. The sluice was built in Belle's front 
yard; water was piped from the barn, and Louis 
went to work on the strangest mining job of his 
career. 

Thousands gathered to cheer him on as he 
shoveled tons of debris and washed it down over 
the riffles. Newspaper photographers flocked to 
the scene. Bets were made on the outcome. Chi- 
cago bookies formed pools on the day and hour 
Louis would strike "pay dirt." On May 19, after 
four days of hard work, Louis came upon the 
piece of dental bridgework he had been looking 
for. Dr. Norton examined it carefully and pos- 
itively identified the piece as the work he had 
done for Mrs. Gunness. 

Ray Lamphere, the ex-farm hand, went on trial 
in LaPorte for the murder. Acquitted on that 
charge, he was tried for arson and convicted. 
Obviously the jury did not believe Mrs. Gun- 
ness was dead. Confined in a prison in Mich- 
igan City, Lamphere told what he knew to his 
cellmate, Myers. In 1909 when Lamphere died, 
Myers repeated the story to prison officials. 

Highlights of the account were that despite 
the evidence of the dental work, the body was 
that of a woman Belle had lured from Illinois 
on the promise of housework, then killed and 
beheaded to prevent proper identification. The 
head had been destroyed in quicklime. Lamphere 
claimed that Belle had killed the four children 
one after another, then piled the bodies on the 
mattress after dressing the woman's corpse in 
some of her own clothes. 

Lamphere was sure that Belle had done away 
with at least forty-two men getting large amounts 
of cash varying from SI ,000 to $32,000 from each. 
Usually she first drugged their coffee, then bashed 
in their heads while they were in a stupor. She 
then dissected the bodies on the big table in the 
cellar, tied the parts into neat bundles, and buried 
them in the locked yard. Occasionally she put 
the bodies into the hog-scalding vat and added 
generous amounts of quick-lime. 

Lamphere admitted to Myers that he had helped 
Belle bury several bodies, but denied he ever had 
a part in the actual killing. Although Lamphere 
was convinced Belle did not die in the fire, the 
police have not ever caught up with her. Many 
people around LaPore believe she is still roving 
in a distant part of the world. 

The legend of this Female Bluebeard still lives 
on and has become a permanent part of the 
folklore of that region of Indiana. A song is 
still sung about her which begins like this: 
"Belle Gunness lived in Indi-an; 
She always, always had a man; 
Ten at least went in her door — 
And were never, never seen no more." 
* * ■ * 




"CONVINCE ME", I SAID 



OU C-f 



V 



rai 



% 



15 



WE WERE sitting in the 
shade, leaning against a 
building and looking out 
across the waters of the Tompkinsville 
Navy Yard to a ferry that was coming 
to Staten Island from Manhattan. We 
weren't talking much because it was too 
hot to talk. It was almost too hot to 
live on a day like that. 

A one-and-a-half striper came walk- 
ing down the dock to some PC's that 
were tied up near us. I'd seen him be- 
fore and knew he was the skipper of 



the nearest of those PC's. I watched 
him go aboard, the way he turned aft 
to flick a salute to the ensign, and he'd 
taken no more than three steps on deck 
when a rating came over and hauled 
down that repeater they fly to show the 
skipper's ashore. I felt sorry for that 
rating having to get up in that heat and 
pull a flag down and for what? 

''For what?" I asked this guy who 
was with me. 

"What for what?" he asked me. 

"That poor guy," I told him. 



When a couple of guys are swap- 
ping yarns there's bound to be a little 
exaggeration that needs convincing 



!•»-. I/If • • ; , *»i„;: ■\'.m 







The men hurtled through the air under the terrific impact of the explosion 

98 



99 



100 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Stretched out having a fine time until 
his old man showed up. Makes me glad 
I'm station duty." 

"What are you talking about?" he 
asked me. 

"Tradition," I said. "Tradition in 
this man's navy. Now why should they 
haul the repeater up and down all day 
just to show the old man's gone for an 
ice cream cone or he's playing gin in 
the wardroom? For what? Even them 
little PC's. They got so much tradition 
stowed aboard it's a wonder it don't 
drag 'em down to the bottom." 

"You're against traditions?" he 
asked me. 

"Not all of 'em," I said. "Not pay- 
day and liberty. But you can have the 
rest of them. What are you making 
faces for?" 

"I'm for ; em," he said. "All of 'em." 

"You just for 'em or you got a rea- 
son?" I asked. 

"I got the best reason in the world," 
he said. 

"I'm listening," I said. 

"I can see that by the way your ears 
is quivering," he said. "I'm for tradi- 
tions because one of 'em once saved my 
life. And I know two more guys feel 
just the same way for the same reason. " 

"Convince me," I said. 

"Sure," he said, and he told me a 
story. 

U*OR reasons of security, he said, I 
will not identify the exact location 
of this action I am about to relate. I 
will merely indicate that it took place 
somewhere between the Carolines and 
the Solomons, west of both of them, and 
at that time deep in Jap waters. 

We were a little convoy trying to 
sneak through to one of our advance 
bases. We had a few four-stacker de- 
stroyers and a light cruiser to protect 
maybe twenty freighters. I was just 
a few weeks out of boot camp and I was 



aboard one of those freighters, part of 
a seven-man gun crew. 

The gun we had would've sunk our 
ship if we'd ever got to fire it. I fig- 
ured we'd captured it from the British 
in the war of 1812 and it still wasn't 
friendly to Americans. Anyway, in 
those days we didn't have to know 
much. They taught us only three com- 
mands: Ready, Aim, and Abandon 
Ship. It was a rugged life. 

It got more rugged pretty fast. Our 
fourth day out, just before sundown, a 
flight of twenty-one Jap bombers 
spotted us. The next thing we knew 
they started coming down. The con- 
voy scattered and it was every ship for 
itself. The destroyers started zig-zag- 
ging and they had the speed to make 
it work, but this tub I was on could 
do maybe seven knots running down- 
hill. She had an old skipper who'd 
come back to the sea from some cab- 
bage farm, and what does this old sea- 
dog think he can do? He thinks he can 
learn new tricks. He sees the way the 
destroyers are going and he decides to 
do a little zig-zaggery himself. 

Well, maybe we should have zagged 
when we zigged. The next thing we 
knew we had two heavy bombs aboard. 
One took the bow and the other sliced 
off the stern and the middle went for 
the bottom like an anchor. 

When I looked around again, I was 
floating. A few hundred yards away 
I saw two guys climbing aboard a raft, 
so I decided to pay them a visit even 
though they weren't Navy, but a couple 
of deck hands from this freighter. I 
made it just before dark and there I 
was, safe in body and mind, but very 
lonely except for these two guys. What 
was left of the convoy scattered and 
was out of sight before I got to the raft. 
There wasn't even smoke on the horizon 
in an hour. If the destroyers came back 
later to hunt for survivors, they never 



"CONVINCE ME." I SAID 



101 



came out our way. We were orphans 
right from the start. 

And we stayed orphans. We had 
some food and water aboard and some 
gadgets like fishing tackle and flash- 
lights and we figured we'd be picked up 
pretty soon. But we weren't picked up. 
The days went by and the raft went 
wherever it wanted to go. Sometimes 
it went so fast it looked like it had an 
appointment some place, and after the 
first week we didn't any of us know 
what ocean we were in. 

It kept getting worse. These two 
guys with me hadn't ever shipped out 
before and they didn't even know the 
sea was salty. We ran into some rough 
weather one night and most of our food 
went overboard because I trusted them 
to make the stuff fast, and fast was the 
way it disappeared. What was left 
didn't last much longer and then the 
water gave out. 

TT WAS desperate, I mean to say. We 
had some poles aboard they wanted 
to use for oars, if they knew where to 
go and cared to row five hundred miles, 
and I used those poles to knock down 
an albatross and once we stunned a lit- 
tle shark and ate its belly while the 
tail was still kicking. About every 
fourth or fifth night there'd be a squall 
and we'd catch rain water in our shirts 
and pour it into the cans we had. And 
every day that South Pacific sun would 
rise and bake us crisp before noon, and 
every night we'd shake with chills and 
fever. 

We had blisters the size of coffee cups 
all over our bodies and barnacles started 
growing in our beards. Then, the fourth 
week we were out we had another blow 
and the raft started breaking up and 
we kept it together by using our clothes 
for line. 

The fifth week was the hungriest, 
and that was when these two guys 



started to break up worse than the 
raft. I hardly got any sleep at first 
because I was afraid of the skinny one. 
He used to look at me all day and ask 
me how much I weighed. After awhile 
I figured I was safe because I didn't 
weigh enough any more. So I slept a 
little until the other one tried to slide 
overboard, and after that I had to 
watch him pretty close. 

When the sixth week started I finally 
got ready to tell myself I wasn't going 
to get saved. I might have dived over 
myself but I didn't have the strength 
to stand up and I didn't like the idea 
of just rolling off. After that I lost track 
of the days and nights, and when I 
could think a little I tried to figure out 
just where we might be, just for the 
sake of thinking about something. I 
knew we were finished but I wanted to 
know where. They'd taught me a little 
something about stars in the Boy Scouts 
and I'd try to work them out, but every 
time I looked at the big dipper I'd think 
how nice it would be if it was full of 
beef stew, and it almost drove me crazy. 

Then came the day we spotted the 
sub. It was late afternoon and I saw 
it laying way off against the horizon, 
running due south on the surface and 
heading towards us at an angle. I'd 
learned my lessons and I knew from its 
silhouette that it was an American sub, 
and a big one at that. 

The closer it came, the crazier we 
went. We were half blind from the sun 
and more than half deaf from the sea 
pounding our raft, but we were sure 
they'd spotted us and we thought we'd 
heard the guy in the conning tower 
yelling at us. 

It was that close when it submerged. 

That's what it did. It submerged 
when it was no more than a mile or so 
away, and that was the last we saw of it. 
Did I say we'd gone crazy just seeing 
it? You can imagine how it was with 



102 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



us when that sub just nosed under and 
vanished. At first we thought it would 
come back, that it had ducked under for 
a good reason, but when it started to get 
dark and that sub still hadn't showed 
up again, we knew what the score was. 
It hadn't seen or heard us, and it had 
been close enough to have smelled us. 

CO THERE it was, the end. Finished. 
I lay on my back and looked at the 
stars and wondered if I would be alive 
the next morning. I was crying like a 
baby half the time and cursing myself 
for having asked for the Navy when I 
went for induction, the rest of the time. 
The Navy, I kept yelling, the blankety- 
blank Navy with its blankety-blank sea 
and its blankety-blank tradition and 
chicory in the Java and thirteen buttons 
on the pants and piping the admiral 
aboard. I really spoke my mind that 
night, what I mean. 

And then it hit me — the big idea, I 
mean. Why had that sub gone under? 
Why in the blankety-blank-blank had 
it picked just that time to go under? 
There was only one answer I could fig- 
ure out. It was based on a Navy tra- 
dition about subs. The tradition was 
that no sub crossed the equator on the 
surface! 

You hear that? You understand 
what I'm saying? I figured that sub had 
submerged because of the Navy tradi- 
tion about submerging when it crossed 
the equator. And that meant that we 
were sitting right smack on the equator. 
I kept looking up at the stars and think- 
ing about the equator and suddenly I 
let out a yell that was louder than any 
of the yells I'd let out that day, and 
some of 'em had been loud enough to 
kill fish in a radius of half a mile. 

I figured I knew where we were, by 
looking at the stars and placing us at 
the equator. I got on my knees and 
shook those two guys with me and 



yelled at them until they understood 
what I was saying. I was telling them 
I'd figured out a group of islands we 
were near, and I grabbed one of those 
poles and used the flat ends for oars 
and made them take the others. 

And then we rowed. I don't know 
how fast we rowed but we had a wake, 
and I don't know how far we rowed, but 
by morning we saw land. We hadn't 
had the strength to raise our eyelids 
the night before, but hope is what did 
for us, and prayer didn't hinder any, I 
guess. When I said I knew there was 
land just ahead, they didn't know 
enough not to believe me, and that's 
what saved us. 

"CO DON'T go knocking down tradi- 
tion when I'm around," he said to 
me. "There's a bona fide case where 
tradition saved three lives." 

I shook my head and made a clicking 
noise with my teeth and I asked, "And 
it was really land— American land?" 

"Nah," he said. "It was just a lost 
little island nobody cared about, but it 
had trees and coconuts and birds and 
turtles and we lived there six weeks 
more before a Catalina spotted up and 
took us off." 

"If it was a lost island," I said, "how 
did you know about it?" 

"I didn't," he said. "I was crazy. I 
went so nuts when that sub disappeared 
I just couldn't think straight anymore, 
but I didn't know that. I really thought 
1 could navigate lying on my back on a 
raft and reading the stars. But if it 
hadn't been for that sub, I'd never have 
thought of the tradition and I'd never 
have thought we were at the equator 
and I'd never have made them row. 
We'd be fish-food in the fifteenth gen- 
eration by now." 

"But," I said, "if it wasn't for tradi- 
tion that sub wouldn't have submerged 
and you'd have been saved right then 



"CONVINCE ME," I SAID 



103 



and there, without that wild piece of 
luck." 

"Nah," he said. "We found out 
about that later. When we told our 
story to Naval Intelligence, they 
checked their subs and the place we'd 
been at and the time. We weren't any- 
where near the equator, not any nearer 
than two hundred miles." 

"What?" I said. "Then what made 
that sub submerge just then?" 

"They told us that later," he said, 
"after they checked. It seems they'd 



spotted three Jap planes way up and 
they crash-dived before the planes 
could come down to take a poke at the 
sub. We were so blind and so deaf 
we never even knew those Jap planes 
were around." 

I tried to say something but I couldn't 
make it. 

"So don't go knocking tradition to 
me," he said. "I'm the living proof of 
the value of tradition. Got anything to 
say now?" 

"You convinced me," I said. 



NEPTUNE'S MAIDENS 



CHIEF among the legends which originated 
about the sea is that of the glamourous 
maidens of the briny deep and their male 
counterparts, the Mermaids and Mermen. These 
creatures are prominently featured in prose and 
poetry and in the folklore of many lands. The 
crews of the old sailing ships firmly believed in 
their existence. 

One of the first experiences a man is supposed 
to have had with one of these lovely women of 
the seas is told by Alexander ab Aiexandro. While 
his friend Gaza was travelling in the Morea, a 
live mermaid was cast on the shore. She looked 
very much like her sisters on dry land, possessed 
a beautiful face and a well-proportioned body — 
as far as it went. Towards the waist the scales 
began and instead of legs she had a fish's tail. A 
great crowd gathered around her, so frightening 
her that she burst into tears. Gaza, who was a 
considerate man, remonstrated with the spectators 
and requested them to stand to one side. As soon 
as an opening was made, the mermaid scrambled 
back to the sea using her fins and tail for locomo- 
tion. Plunging in head first, she disappeared from 
sight and was never seen again. 

From the folklore of sea-faring peoples such 
as the Danes and the Norwegians there are tales 
of Mermen, sea-cows, sea-horses, sea-dogs, and 
an entire civilization in the hidden depths of the 
ocean. 

In one of the early dictionaries, Jablonsky's 
Universal Dictionary, the Merman is discussed to 
great length. He is regarded as a real being. 

"Merman is a sea-man, a fish found in the seas 
and in some rivers in the southern parts of Africa 
and India, in the Philippine Islands, Moluccas, 
Brazil, North America, and Europe. The length 
is eight spans; the head oval, and the face re- 
sembling that of a man. It has a high forehead, 
little eyes, a flat nose and a large mouth, but no 
ears or chin. It has two arms which are short, 
without joints or elbows, but with hands or paws, 
to each of which there are four long fingers con- 
nected with each other by a membrane, like the 



foot of a goose. The females have breasts, at 
which they suckle their young; so that the upper 
part of their body resembles that of a human 
species, and the lower part that of a fish. They 
make a lamentable cry when drawn out of the 
water." 

In the 18th century several people claimed to 
have set eyes on these elusive creatures of the 
sea. In 1723 four Danes testified before a court 
of law that they had seen a Merman. To them 
he appeared to be an old man. 

In June of 1762 a French newspaper told of 
the experiences of two girls on the island of 
Noirmoutier, off the coast of La Vendee. They 
had been spending the afternoon searching for 
shells in the crevices of rocks when they dis- 
covered in a kind of natural grotto an animal of 
human form leaning on its hands. One of the 
girls had a long knife. Within a moment she 
had thrust the blade into the animal which uttered 
a groan like a human person. The two girls cut 
off its hands which had fingers and nails as well 
as webs between the fingers. The surgeon of the 
island who went to see it, says it was as big as a 
full-grown man, and that its skin resembled that 
of a drowned person. The chin was adorned with 
a kind of beard formed of fine shells, and over 
the whole body there were tufts of similar shells. 
It had the tail of a fish — and at the end of the 
tail a projection which resembled feet. 

In 1775 a Mermaid was exhibited in London 
causing much excitement. Edmund Burke, the 
famous philosopher was among those who went 
to see it, and he believed in it. Nevertheless, it 
was later proved to be a fake made from the 
skin of angelshark. The exhibitor, was punished 
for the hoax. A clever American exhibited a 
similar curiosity not many years ago. His was 
made up of a monkey's skin sewed on to that 
of a seal. Today there are no living examples 
of either Mermaid or Merman. Scientists deny 
they ever existed, and yet the legend lives on. 

— A. Morris. 
* * * 



The Crazy Indian 



Ham 

AT EIGHT O'CLOCK in the 
morning — especially a morning 
that promises to be a hot sum- 
mer's day— that part of Manhattan 
Island located at the lower end of New 
York's financial district is pretty much 
deserted. The nation's great financial 
wizards just don't get up that early. 

In fact, the district was somewhat be- 
low the end of Number One Broadway, 
which made it the Battery, the very 
southernmost end of the stony rock pile 
bought for a few dollars from some 
Indians. The sudden change in the 
neighborhood, as you emerged from 
Broadway into the Battery, was some- 



On the streets of New York 
you see a lot of strange sights 
so an Indian would seem to be 
a natural thing — maybe . . 



what startling. 

There was a park. Bums still slept 
on paper-covered benches. More papers 
littered the grass, and a few more dis- 
reputable-looking characters slept there. 
One old fellow sat up and sleepily 
scratched his head, looking around for 
his shoes. 

Buildings of assorted sizes and ages 
faced Battery Park. Beyond was the 
choppy sweep of the Harbor. Some 
energetic little tugboats scurried up and 
down, the first indication of activity 
for that particular day. 

Therefore no one noticed the Indian. 
Not that New Yorkers would have paid 




101 



With hair flying in the wind, she lashed out with her weapon 
lUo 



106 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



the Indian any undue attention. You 
see just about anything cockeyed in 
Manhattan. It is said that strangers 
travel to New York to study the natives 
of that city, rather than the other way 
around. 

Also, the Indian wasn't dressed like 
an Indian is usually dressed. 

He wore plain store variety clothes. 
He was hatless, and his black straight 
hair gleamed in the early morning sun- 
light. He was about the tallest Indian 
imaginable. His skin was the color of 
well-cured leather, and his eyes were 
cold black. 

For the past hour the Indian had 
been making regular trips, at exact ten- 
minute intervals, to the building across 
from the east side of the park. The 
building was still locked, and the Indian 
sat there on the one deserted park 
bench, a straight ramrod of a figure, 
and watched the doorway of the de- 
lapidated office building. 

The structure was in sharp contrast 
to the imposing buildings that started 
at Number One Broadway. It was 
ancient. The grandchildren of count- 
less generations of pigeons used it for a 
nightly roost. Bronze work on the en- 
trance doors was green with age. 

Finally, near nine o'clock, a man in 
overalls unlocked the front doors and 
propped them open with a wedge. The 
fellow disappeared into the cavernous 
interior of the place again. 

Instantly the tall, wide-shouldered 
Indian was on his feet. He quickly 
crossed the street and, sharp black eyes 
first searching right and left along the 
street, he dived into the doorway as if 
a coyote was after him. 

tTE FOUND the directory on the 
lobby wall. There were only six 
floors, and on two of these were no 
tenants listed at all. Which gives you 
some idea of what people thought of the 



building address. 

Obviously the Indian could read. He 
noted the name listed for the fifth floor. 
It was the only tenant on that floor. 
The directory said: ADVENTURERS, 
INC. 

The Indian made a satisfied grunting 
sound in his throat and turned away. 
He saw the elevator cage nearby. It 
was the old-fashioned type v i s i b 1 e 
through open grillwork. The man in 
overalls sat on a stool inside the cab, 
reading the morning newspaper. 

The Indian was just turning away 
from the directory when sharp heels 
tap-tap-tapped along the marble hall. 
Ancient dusty walls threw back the 
sound as though resentful of the intru- 
sion. 

It was a girl, a tall, a straight-shoul- 
dered girl in a gabardine skirt and 
sweater. Both fitted nicely in the places 
where they were supposed to be filled 
out. 

The girl paused a moment, adjusting 
her eyes to the dimness inside the lobby. 
The sudden change from bright sunlight 
had left her partially blinded. 

The Indian saw this. He took ad- 
vantage of it, pressing farther back into 
the corridor, flat against the wall, al- 
most as if he were scared to death 
about something. If the girl had come 
directly to the bulletin board she would 
have seen him standing rigidly there. 
Instead, she moved directly to the ele- 
vator and stepped inside. 

"All right," she said impatiently. 
"Let's get up to the fifth floor . . . Ad- 
venturers, Incorporated." 

"It's the heat," the elevator operator 
— he was well over fifty and kindly 
mannered — said to the girl. "Makes 
people restless and fidgety. A pretty 
girl like you shouldn't let it get you. 
I always say — " 

"Please!" the girl said. 

"All right, all right, miss." 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



107. 



The elevator operator started to close 
the gate, peered through the diamond- 
shaped openings at the Indian back 
there in the gloom. He had seen the 
man come in, but had not recognized 
him as an Indian. 

"Where do you want, mister?" he 
called out. 

The tall black-eyed Indian took out 
of there as if released by a spring. He 
streaked toward the front doors. 

The girl saw him. She stared. Then 
she yelled, "Mike!" 

Pushing past the elevator operator 
she dashed into the hallway and started 
pursuit. "Mike!" she called again. 
"Mike, wait!" 

CUNLIGHT struck the coppery red of 
her lovely hair as she reached the 
sidewalk. The Indian had just turned 
the nearby corner. She dashed that 
way — and almost collided with a patrol- 
man who was just crossing the street. 

She clutched the officer's arm, gave 
the arm a shake, and said worriedly, 
"Catch him. Hurry!" 

The patrolman had seen the tall, 
dark-skinned man turn the corner. He 
had not noticed that the man was an 
Indian, or a frightened one. He was 
a young, long-legged cop with a good 
jaw. The jaw pushed forward with de- 
termination as he looked at the attrac- 
tive red-haired girl. 

"You bet I'll catch him for you!" 
promised the patrolman. 

He plunged up Broadway, his whistle 
sounding as he ran. His long legs gob- 
bled up distance. 

The girl saw him turn down a side 
street. Apparently the Indian had dis- 
appeared in that direction. She waited, 
tapping a foot, an uneasiness in her 
clear gray-green eyes. 

Ten minutes passed. Finally the 
lanky patrolman returned. He was 
breathing hard. His face was flushed. 



"Where's Mike?" the girl demanded. 

"If you mean that guy I was chasing 
for you," said the cop grimly, "he's 
gone. Like the wind! My God, I 
never saw anyone run as fast as him!" 

"Don't be silly!" snapped the red- 
head. 

The young patrolman rocked back 
on his heels. He looked at her curiously. 

"Come again?" he prompted. 

"I said, don't be silly. You ought to 
be ashamed of yourself, a young man 
like you!" 

The cop frowned at her. For such 
a pretty girl, the young woman cer- 
tainly had a fiery disposition. Maybe 
the red hair explained it. 

"Mike — the fellow you were chas- 
ing," she went on, "is over one hundred 
years old. And you couldn't catch 
him!" 

That tears it, thought the young offi- 
cer. Whacky, she was ! 

"Now, look — " he started. 

"Huh!" repeated the girl. "You 
ought to be ashamed." 

She turned abruptly on her heel and 
hurried toward the old office building 
facing the Battery. 

The patrolman stood there with his 
mouth open, staring after her slim, 
shapely, taut figure. 

Naturally he couldn't see the change 
that had come into the redhaired girl's 
eyes. Anger had been quickly replaced 
by a troubled expression. 

"Damn!" she murmured to herself 
as she swung into the cool, shadowy 
hallway of the old building. And then, 
again, "Damn!" 

CHAPTER II 

HpHE plane, sitting on a ramp at La- 
Guardia Field, gleamed like bright 
silver in the hot morning sunlight. 
Low-winged, sleek, it carried two en- 
gines and looked as if it were built for 



108 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



unusual speed. 

A ground crew fussed around it. The 
pre-flight check had already been made, 
yet the five men looked over the ship 
again. 

The big plane was parked near the 
hangar of a private, charter air line 
well down the huge field. It appeared 
to be brand new. 

Inside the plane, the fat man — the 
soie passenger — sat and fussed also. He 
was a round man — round chins, florid 
round face, a fringe of gray hair form- 
ing a round halo around his otherwise 
bald head. He mopped perspiration 
from his face, grunted as he raised up to 
stare out the window, sat back again 
and grunted with displeasure. 

Forward in the large cabin, the door 
to the pilot's cockpit unlatched and the 
tall wiry man in uniform stepped into 
the cabin aisle. The pilot glanced at 
his watch and moved up the aisle to- 
ward the fat passenger. 

"Benson should be here," he said. 

"Dammit, yes!" said the fat man. 
"What's keeping him?" 

The pilot shrugged his shoulders a 
little. "I can't imagine, Mr. Marsh. 
He told you ten o'clock, didn't he?" 

"Yes. Then I phoned him and 
changed it to nine o'clock, as I told you 
a while ago. Now it is ten, and he isn't 
here yet. I haven't all day!" 

"I'm sorry," murmured the tall pilot. 

"A lot that helps. A fine way to 
handle a buyer for this ship ! I have to 
be in Washington this afternoon." 

"He ought to be here any minute." 

"He'd better!" 

The fat man was Jordon Marsh. It 
was said he had made his millions in the 
coffee business in South America. Then 
he'd become interested in politics. 
Money had bought him a high political 
position in Washington. He was an 
ambitious fat man. Money got him the 
things he wanted. His small, round, 



dark sharp eyes told you he was a man 
who wouldn't be kept waiting. Patience 
was not one of his virtues. 

"I'll turn on the air-conditioning," 
said the pilot, and he returned to the 
cockpit, latching the small connecting 
door behind him. 

In the quiet of the empty cabin, Jor- 
don Marsh could hear a faint, vague 
murmur of voices as the pilot conversed 
with the first officer of the flight, up 
there in the cockpit. 

Footsteps sounded atop the portable 
steps at the rear doorway and a man in 
white jumpers entered the plane. He 
looked like one of the mechanics. 

"Mr. Marsh?" he asked. 

The fat man jerked his head im- 
patiently. "Yes, yes?" he snorted. 

"It looks like we'll have to make the 
flight without Benson. It won't make 
any difference." 

"What do you mean, it won't make 
any difference?" demanded Jordon 
Marsh. 

"Benson's tied up. Just phoned the 
field office. He says to take you up, see 
how you like the way the ship handles, 
the pressurization and so on at high al- 
titudes, then if everything is satisfac- 
tory you can close the deal for the plane 
afterwards. He'll be here by the time 
we return." 

"That's a hell of a way to treat a 
customer!" said the fat man. 

"Sorry . . ." murmured the mechanic. 

The fat man snorted. 

The mechanic went to the doorway, 
said something, and the remaining four 
members of the ground crew came 
aboard. They each took a seat. 

"The boys want to take the flight 
too," explained the mechanic. "They've 
never been up in this new job." 

Without pausing to see if this was 
agreeable with Jordon Marsh or not, 
the mechanic slammed the door firmly 
and turned the latch. He went forward, 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



109 



used a key to open the narrow door to 
the pilot's compartment, closed it be- 
hind him. 

/ T , HE first motor was started. It sput- 
tered a bit, then settled into a vi- 
brant roar. The second followed. 
Power pulsed through the entire plane. 

Shortly they taxied out to the end of 
a long runway. The pilot made his 
checkoff. The great engine roar shook 
the plane as the powerful motors were 
revved up. 

"Noisy," commented the fat man 
sourly. 

One of the ground crew said, "Re- 
flection of sound against the earth. You 
lose that as soon as we get in the air." 

Jordon Marsh grunted. 

Brakes were released and the plane 
edged out onto the runway, awaiting 
the signal from the tower. A moment 
passed. Then they were taking off. 

Jordon Marsh thrilled to the surge of 
power that held his huge frame back 
against the seat. He liked power in 
anything. 

Shortly they were airborne. The big 
ship climbed smoothly and steadily. 
The thousands of homes and apart- 
ments in Queens, below them, shrank 
to matchbox size. They headed toward 
the lower end of Manhattan, crossing 
the East River. 

The air-conditioning had cooled the 
interior of the cabin somewhat, never- 
theless Jordon Marsh was still perspir- 
ing. He turned once, looking at those 
who accompanied him. The men were 
all silent, merely sitting there. 

Fine company, he thought. 

He sat gazing out the window as the 
ship continued to climb. It didn't level 
off, but kept going higher and higher. 
They were over New Jersey now. He 
knew the countryside below. It wasn't 
the first time he had flown. 

Fifteen minutes passed. The earth 



became a silent, unreal, miniature world 
far below them. Twice Jordon Marsh 
frowned as he gazed downward from 
the window. 

Finally he remarked to one of the 
men behind him, "We're still heading 
west." 

"That's right," agreed the member of 
the ground crew. 

Marsh said, "The flight is only for a 
half hour. The orders were to merely 
circle over Manhattan. Why are we 
going straight west?" 

"Guess," said the man nearest him. 

"I don't like this!" rapped the fat 
man, and he got up and went toward the 
door at the front of the cabin. He tried 
the door, found it latched, pounded on 
the panel with a huge fist. While ae 
waited, he turned and looked at the 
other passengers. For the first time, 
and with some uneasiness, he noted 
their blocky jaws and hard features. It 
occurred to him that they did not look 
like regular air line personnel. 

The cockpit door opened. A stranger 
stood there in front of him, not the head 
pilot who had talked to him earlier. He 
was a thin, trim man with cool gray 
eyes. 

"Well?" the stranger said. 

"What is this?" demanded Jordon 
Marsh. "Why aren't we staying over 
New York?" He leaned over, glanced 
out a window again. "We're still going 
west." 

"He doesn't like it," said one of the 
men behind him. The fellow gave a 
peculiar, brittle laugh. 

"I think," suggested the man in the 
cockpit doorway, "you'd better get Mr. 
Marsh some warmer clothes out of the 
cargo compartment. It will be quite 
cold where we're going." 

"Going where?" asked the fat man 
uneasily. 

The man merely smiled. 

"Now, look — "Jordon Marsh started, 



110 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



and he moved grimly toward the seated 
man. "Somebody's going to explain 
this, and damn' quick!" 

He seized the first man he came to 
by the collar', yanked him out of the 
seat. For all his size and fatness, 
Marsh was quick-moving and powerful. 

A FIGHT got underway in the nar- 
row passage. The other crew mem- 
bers joined in. The fat man's huge size 
was a disadvantage to them. He bowled 
men over with his size. His hamlike 
fists slugged out. Men cursed. 

The man from the cockpit came down 
the aisle. "We can't have this," he was 
saying coolly. "A good thing I pre- 
pared for this trip. Here, you guys, 
hold him still. What the hell's the mat- 
ter with you?" 

Marsh struggled with four men at 
once. Even at that, he' managed to 
jerk around and stare at the speaker. 
He saw the instrument that looked like 
a hypodermic needle in the thin, trim 
man's right hand. He saw the man's 
intention, and tried desperately to break 
loose and knock the instrument aside. 

But now he was held rigidly. His 
coat sleeve and shirt beneath were 
yanked back and the long needle jabbed 
into his arm. 

"Brother," said the thin, small man, 
"you got a long trip ahead and you'll 
need some rest. It'll do you good." 

Everyone started to laugh. 

The drowsiness flowed over the fat 
man swiftly. His knees started to sag. 
He was lowered into a seat, and the 
back of the seat was reclined so that 
they could stretch him out. 

Shortly he slept. 

One man had been fumbling through 
his own pockets. He swore. Next he 
searched in the cabin seats. After that 
he got down on his hands and knees 
and peered everywhere. 

"What's got into you?" someone 



asked. 

"Lost it," said the searcher. He ap- 
peared worried. 

"Lost what, pal?" 

"The Indian thing!" 

All eyes swung toward the man who 
made the statement. Someone prodded, 
"You sure?" 

"I ain't kidding, chum." 

Everyone started searching the cabin. 

They all looked worried. 

CHAPTER III 

HpHE two men who waited just ouside 
the fence that enclosed a walk bor- 
dering the airport were an unusual- 
looking pair. 

One was a short, wiry, hard-bitten 
character with lively, bright-blue eyes. 
His homely face was tanned the color 
of oak. It was impossible to estimate 
his age. He could have been thirty or 
fifty. In turn, in his colorful career, he 
had been a tunnel sandhog, construction 
worker and prospector. There was not 
a corner of the world where he' had 
not sought adventure. 

They called him "Buzz" Casey, and 
he was tough. 

Right now he was muttering, "The 
hell with it! Rush must have made ^ 
mistake in the time. Let's shove off ' 
and eat." 

The tall, gaunt-looking man standing 
beside him frowned with annoyance. He 
said: 

"The trouble with you is, runt, you 
got worms. Rush said to meet Jordon 
Marsh here, and we're going to meet 
him come hell or high water. Marsh is 
big money, you dope. Rush knew him 
once in South America. It must be 
something pretty good or Rush 
wouldn't chase us out here." 

"Ha!" said Buzz Casey. 

"Speak English," snapped the tall 
man with the gloomy face. 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



111 



"Look," said the wiry little man. "We 
get here, see. Some mechanics tell us 
that new plane is due back here in a few 
minutes, see. Now it's an hour. And 
no plane ... no Jordon Marsh, no noth- 
ing. I say, the hell with it. Let's eat." 

Malcolm Dean — better known as the 
"Deacon" — continued to stare at his 
small partner as though the man were 
some kind of worm. 

"Perhaps," he suggested, "it might 
be better if you weren't here when 
Marsh arrived. My God, where'd you 
buy that race tout's sport coat? You'd 
frighten off any client. And I've got a 
hunch this millionaire. Marsh, is a 
prospect. Rush said over the phone to 
be sure to meet him here.' 

"This coat cost me ten bucks on Sixth 
Avenue," snorted Buzz Casey." 

"You'd better not wave it near a 
bull," warned his tall partner. 

"Aw, shuddup! - ' 

They continued to argue. 

Clothes were one of the things they 
argued about, for the Deacon dressed 
as somberly as his nickname implied. 
Dark suit, black tie, black hat suited 
his gloomy features. No one would 
have ever surmised that he was a naval 
' hero, explorer, holder of various de- 
grees in science and engineering. Like 
hii partner Buzz Casey, adventure had 
^ftaken him to the faroff corners of the 
world. 

The two men formed two-thirds of 
the unusual organization known as Ad- 
venturers, Inc. 

ANOTHER fifteen minutes passed. 
The Deacon stood there with his 
long boney hands folded in front of him. 
For the past five minutes his thumbs 
had been chasing one another in a twirl- 
ing movement as he kept his hands 
folded. 

Buzz Casey watched the twirling 
thumbs and there was a twinkle in his 



lively blue eyes. It was the one indica- 
tion that the Deacon, his partner, was 
getting restless for action. You could 
always tell. When those thumbs started 
twirling, it paid to watch out. He did 
the same thing when he was spoiling for 
a good fight. 

Abruptly the Deacon moved down 
the walk toward a gate. There was a 
sign that read: "No Admittance To 
Airfield." Ignoring it, the tall, gaunt 
man continued on to the field and ap- 
proached a nearby hangar. Some men 
were standing there. They looked like 
mechanics. 

Buzz Casey tagged along behind his 
partner. 

The Deacon was talking to a field at- 
tendant when Casey caught up with 
him. The man was saying : 

"Frankly, they don't know what to 
think. The plane was due back here 
an hour ago. They've tried to contact 
it by radio, with no results. Right now 
they're checking emergency landing 
fields in this area." 

Apparently there was something 
wrong. The field attendants stood 
around in little groups, talking, their 
faces grim. Buzz Casey saw his part- 
ner slip the man a crisp, folded bill. 

"What else?" the Deacon prodded. 

"Well, I really shouldn't—" the at- 
tendant started. He looked at the bill. 
"A funny thing," he added. 

"Yes?" 

"No one has been able to check on 
the ground crew who serviced that 
plane," the attendant said, frowning. 
"The regular crew was due here on the 
field at ten o'clock, but through some 
change in plans the plane took off be- 
fore that. And this other crew, ap- 
parently, was aboard. No one knows 
who they were. There's going to be 
hell to pay!" 

"I should think so," said the Deacon 
solemnly. 



112 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Buzz Casey asked, "Hasn't anyone 
tried to check the plane in flight?" 

"They're doing that now," said the 
man. He pocketed the bill, said, "Wait 
a minute," and disappeared toward an 
office in the hangar. He came back 
in a few moments. 

"I don't understand it," he said 
tensely. "The plane was seen passing 
high over Pittsburgh. A TWA pilot 
bringing a Constellation into the field, 
there, saw it. Said it was flying plenty 
high and fast. No one has seen it since! " 

"Flying where?" asked Buzz. 

"West." 

The two partners waited another half 
hour, but there were no further reports. 
The plane, it became apparent, had 
vanished. 

They decided to return to the office 
and report to Rush Randall, the third 
member of their organization. They 
rode a cab back to the Battery. 

The pretty redhaired girl was sitting 
there in the outer office in the old build- 
ing facing Battery Park, and she looked 
as if ready to punch noses. 

"ABOUT time!" she exclaimed, as 
they entered the room. 

"Time for what?" said little Buzz 
Casey, a pleased grin touching his 
homely features as he saw the attractive 
redhead. 

She had jumped to her feet, slim and 
pretty, her expressive eyes flashing. 

"I don't see how in the world you 
can expect to do business," she raced 
on. "Heavens, coming to work at this 
hour!" 

Her gaze swept over Buzz, then went 
to Malcolm Dean's long, gloomy-look- 
ing figure. She said coolly, "You don't 
look like I've heard Rush Randall looks 
like." She said it as though she were 
disappointed. 

The Deacon said quietly, "I'm not 
Rush Randall, ma'am. We are merely 



associates of his." He politely intro- 
duced himself and his partner. He 
looked puzzled. "I don't believe I re- 
call you — " 

"The name," the redhaired girl said 
sharply, "is Williams . . . Lucky Wil- 
liams. I've got a different first name, 
but I don't like it. Don't ask me what 
it is. You just call me Lucky like 
everyone else does." 

She talked rapidly as though she 
were all keyed up about something. She 
added, "This is certainly a funny-look- 
ing office for a business concern. Hard- 
ly a place to sit down, either!" 

Buzz said, "We don't do business in 
the usual manner, Miss. We're dif- 
ferent." 

"I'll say!" snapped the girl. 

Her description of the office was an 
under-statement, to say the least. 

The big room was cluttered with an 
amazing collection. Sitting on a wide 
windowsill was a dumpy bronze Chinese 
figure that grinned at them fiendishly. 
Beside this was a beautifully made 
model of a three-masted sailing ship. In 
contrast, on the wall nearby, hung a 
large photograph of a lean, tall young 
man in a pilot's garb standing beside a 
fast, sleek-looking airplane. 

There was a portable diving bell suit- 
able for a shallow water diving, an as- 
sortment of hunting rifles in a wall case, 
a framed diploma showing that one R. 
J. Randall was a graduate of M.I.T., 
and covering the entire floor an oriental 
rug that had not been cleaned in sev- 
eral years. 

A huge desk was littered with nick- 
nacks that must have been gathered in 
the four corners of the world. Books 
and circulars were stacked on chairs. 
There was a sagging old couch with two 
colorful Indian blankets thrown in a 
heap atop it. 

The girl's eyes swiftly inspected these 
things, then came to rest again on tall 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



113 



Malcolm Dean. "I should think you'd 
have a receptionist. I've been waiting 
for ages. A fine thing I " 

Buzz Casey offered hopefully, "Look, 
miss, maybe we can be of service. You 
act like you've been chased by a pole- 
cat. Something wrong?" 

"I want to see Rush Randall, that's 
what! I can't wait forever, either!" 

The Deacon was moving toward the 
rear of the big room. He said quietly, 
"Rush should be in." He opened a 
heavy paneled door and continued 
through a room beyond. 

"Come on," said Buzz Casey, and he 
and the girl followed. 

HPHE next room they entered was also 
an office. None would have ever 
suspected its presence in this old rattle- 
trap building. 

Its walls were pine-paneled, and from 
floor to ceiling there were built-in book- 
cases. A massive, exquisitely hand- 
carved desk practically filled the room. 
The study was deserted. 

They passed along a corridor from 
which doorways opened into rooms of 
a private apartment. At the rear of 
the hall they entered another office, and 
the girl was in for another surprise. 

For the place was more of a labora- 
tory than an office. Electrical gadgets 
were everywhere. There was a radio 
transmitter and receiving unit of the 
type recently used in the armed serv- 
ices. There was equipment stacked in 
a corner, and it looked like the type of 
stuff carried on expeditions. There was 
a large desk in this room also, before 
a wide window that overlooked the 
Hudson River. 

The man seated at the desk had been 
phoning. He seemed to be completing 
the conversation just as they stepped 
inside. They heard him say, "All right, 
keep checking, and call me." 

He hung up and turned to look at 



them. Seeing the girl, he stood up. He 
got up, legs, body, arms straightening 
out into a very tall, very straight figure 
that was taller than anyone's in the 
room. 

He was blond, probably close tc 
forty, and he appeared to be a person o ; 
very sound muscles. He had pale gra y 
eyes that searched through one. His 
lips were too thin and a little too stern. 
He looked like a man who did not smile 
enough. 

The Deacon said, "Miss Williams, 
I'd like you to meet Rush Randall." 
He introduced them, adding, "What- 
ever it is that is bothering you, I'm 
sure he can help you." 

The girl said immediately, "Your 
outfit helps people who are in trouble, 
doesn't it?" She was looking directly 
at tall, blond Rush Randall. 

"That depends," he said. 

"On what?" 

"On whether we're interested." He 
made a slight motion with his hand, in- 
dicating the other two men. "Those 
gentlemen are my partners. It's true 
that we handle cases in various parts of 
the world — with certain limitations." 

"Such as?" The girl's tone was again 
impatient. 

Rush Randall shrugged his broad 
shoulders. "Sometimes we simply take 
an assignment because it is in a cor- 
ner of the world where we've never 
been, and which we'd like to see. Or 
the job might be mysterious enough to 
be fascinating. Again, we take it just 
for the sake of adventure." 

"And sometimes," put in homely 
little Buzz, "just for the hell of it." 

Rush Randall smiled for the first 
time. He nodded agreement. 

The girl, Lucky Williams, said ab- 
ruptly, "Well, I need help, and I think 
it's in your line. I've heard you fel- 
lows don't scare easily, and I have an 
idea this job's going to be plenty scarey 



114 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



before you're through." 

"Perhaps you'd better tell us about 
It," suggested Rush Randall. 

"It starts with the Indian," blurted 
the redhead. 

"Indian?" 

She jerked her head, eyes wide. "He's 
like no other kind of Indian you've ever 
met. They call him Mike, and he's 
from Central America or some awful 
place. He's over a hundred years old 
and can run like a deer." 

She paused, and no one spoke for a 
moment. 

"Well?" she demanded crisply. 
"Why don't you go ahead and call me 
a liar?" 

CHAPTER IV 

"DUZZ CASEY'S leathery face crin- 
kled in a grin. "You're sure this 
Indian called Mike is a hundred?" 

"Positive!" 

She explained, "Uncle Clarence 
brought him back with him from some 
place. Uncle Clarence and the others. 
They had him on the summer place 
down in Florida for awhile, then they 
brought him to New York just recently. 
Uncle Clarence said he could prove 
that Mike was a hundred years old." 
She bit her lip a moment, then rushed 
on: "Well, a few days ago, Mike dis- 
appeared. I was coming here this 
morning, to see you" — she nodded to- 
ward Rush Randall — "and I bumped 
into Mike in the lobby. A policeman 
tried to catch him for me, and he even 
outran the young officer. So you see?" 

Rush Randall said quietly, "So far, 
Miss Williams, it is rather confused." 

The girl sighed, shook her head. 
"Why wouldn't it be?" she said tensely. 
"I'm all mixed up too. Because Uncle 
Clarence has disappeared also. That's 
why I came to you. "You've got to 
find him for me!" 



"Who is Uncle Clarence?" asked 
Rush Randall. 

"Clarence Hobart. Certainly you've 
heard of him?" 

The Deacon's dark eyes flickered and 
he glanced at Rush. 

Clarence Hobart, they all knew, was 
big money and big time. He owned a 
chain of large newspapers across the 
country. He was an influence in Wall 
Street. More recently, in the past few 
years, he was also an influence in Wash- 
ington. 

Rush had been studying the girl. 
Now he placed her. "And you," he 
stated, "are the young woman who gets 
her name in the newspapers from time 
to time. You were lost once on a solo 
flight to Alaska. Half the police and 
fliers in Canada and Alaska were 
searching for you. Another time you 
set out in a fifty-foot sloop for Florida 
and ended up on a reef off one of the 
Virginia capes." 

She nodded, eyes flashing. 

"That's why I came to your organiza- 
tion now. About Uncle Clarence, I 
mean?" 

Rush made no comment, but merely 
waited for her to go on. 

She said, "I've caused enough pub- 
licity for him. The last time he was 
furious. Said it hurt him politically. 
That's why I don't dare go to the police. 
And now it's him, poor dear. He must 
be in some terrible kind of trouble. I've 
been frantic worrying about him. And 
so ... so I came here." 

"You say," asked Rush calmly, 
"Clarence Hobart has disappeared?" 

"Yes! And now Mike's gone, too. 
Mike — that's the Indian — was living up 
there at Uncle Clarence's apartment 
also, and now they're both gone. Mike 
was frightened about something this 
morning when I saw him downstairs. 
If we could find him, perhaps he could 
tell us." 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



115 



"Mike speaks English?" 

"They taught him," the girl ex- 
plained. 

The Deacon's gloomy face showed a 
little expression. He appeared puzzled. 
"Who are 'they'?" he wanted to know. 

"My uncle's associates." She moved 
a hand impatiently. "Judge English 
and Jordon Marsh — " 

"Marsh!" 

It was wiry little Buzz who gave the 
exclamation. 

'HPHE girl turned, her gray-green eyes 
querulous. "You sound like you 
were jabbed with a pin. Do you know 
something about him?" 

"I — " Buzz started, and he caught 
the imperceptible head shake that Rush 
quickly gave him. He finished, "I've 
heard of him, is all. Pretty important 
man, isn't he?" 

The girl nodded. Expression in her 
eyes said that she was not completely 
satisfied with his answer. 

She turned back to Rush. "I have 
plenty of money to pay, you needn't 
worry. And if Uncle Clarence is in 
trouble, he has plenty of money to pay 
you too." 

Rush didn't seem interested in that 
part of it. He asked, "You say your 
uncle and his business associates, or 
friends — whatever they are — have been 
interested in this Indian called Mike?" 

"Yes!" 

"Why?" 

"I don't know, really! He's the 
craziest Indian I ever saw. He eats 
herbs!" 

"Tell us," suggested Rush Randall, 
"just what has happened. I mean, the 
reason you think your uncle has dis- 
appeared." 

The girl said tensely, "It was several 
days ago. I went up to see him. He 
has an apartment on Central Park 
West, but no one was home and I fig- 



ured they were out at the time. But 
now I've been back every day since. 
No one's there. No one's been there 
. . . because I've made inquiries at the 
apartment house and now at his office 
downtown. The office has been closed. 
No one knows a thing. My uncle has 
completely vanished." 

Rush said nothing for a moment, then 
asked, "Anyone living in that section 
of New York employs servants. Cer- 
tainly the servants must know the 
whereabouts of your uncle." 

"But that's the strange part of it!" 
the girl cried. "There are no servants! 
They've disappeared, too . . . the but- 
ler, chauffeur . . . everyone!" 

Buzz's homely face brightened. 
"Heck," he put in, "maybe your uncle 
just up and moved out." 

But the girl shook her pretty red 
head. "No," she said, "I had the build- 
ing superintendent let me into the 
apartment. Everything is still there 
just like it was before. The table was 
even set for dinner last night. Nothing 
has been changed. But . . . but no- 
body is living there!" 

Rush Randall decided to accompany 
the girl alone to her uncle's address. 
They departed a few moments later, 
and on the way uptown in his car, Rush 
asked further questions. But there was 
no slightest clue that the girl could give 
him regarding her uncle's whereabouts. 

AT THE Central Park West address, 
they had no difficulty gaining ad- 
mittance to the apartment. Obviously 
the girl had visited here often, and was 
well known by the building officials. 
She was given a key and permitted to 
take Rush upstairs. 

Rush, his eyes missing no single de- 
tail, went through the richly furnished 
rooms. And he found that the girl had 
told the truth. 

Everything was in order, even to a 



116 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



table already set for a meal. 

But there was no clue as to the where- 
abouts of wealthy Clarence Hobart. 

An hour later, they left the apart- 
ment. 

Back in the car, Rush asked, "Who 
would be the most likely person, besides 
yourself, to know about your uncle's 
activities?" 

Rush was driving the big, closed car, 
and Lucky Williams was seated beside 
him. For a moment she gave him a 
thoughtful look. Then she said, "Judge 
English!" 

"Judge English?" 

She nodded, continuing. "Yes, he 
was associated with uncle in politics. I 
was talking to him just a few days ago 
on the phone. And he had seen my 
uncle. He should know about him if 
anyone does!" 

She gave an address near the East 
River Drive, and Rush swung the car 
in that direction. They crossed 59th 
Street, cut onto the drive and headed 
uptown again. 

As Rush swung the limousine into the 
curb, he was aware of some kind of 
excitement beneath the canopy leading 
into the building entrance. 

A doorman had hurried out to the 
curb, was excitedly blowing a whistle 
for a cab. Another building attendant 
came running outside, followed by a 
heavy-set, gray-haired man in his fifties. 

The girl beside Rush exclaimed, 
"That's Judge English! He seems to be 
excited about something!" 

The moment their car stopped, 
Lucky Williams was out on the side- 
walk, hurrying toward Judge English. 
Evidently the big, middle-aged man 
knew her, for he turned, spoke ex- 
citedly. 

Rush, arriving behind the girl, heard 
her gasp, "No!" 

She swung toward Rush Randall, 
eyes wide with horror, as she an- 



nounced: "His son . . . Howard . . . 
is missing!" 

Then, realizing that Rush Randall 
did not even know the young man, she 
explained, "Howard is a lawyer. I know 
him well. Why, now that I think of 
it, he was one of the last persons to 
see Uncle Clarence. He mentioned it to 
me on the phone yesterday. I was 
talking to him!" 

Rush's quiet gray eyes went to the 
big, well-built man. He asked, "What's 
this about your son?" 

Judge English drew in his breath 
deeply, let it out again as if trying to 
gain control of his nerves. "God," he 
said worriedly, "I wish I knew. Just a 
few days ago, Howard was elated about 
some new work that Clarence Hobart 
had sent his way. I never saw my son 
in higher spirits. And now . . . well, 
he's simply dropped from the face of 
the earth. We can't locate him any- 
where!" 

"Work?" Rush asked curiously. 
"What kind of work?" 

"Legal stuff, I imagine. What else? 
I hadn't had a chance to discuss it with 
him. It was something confidential for 
Clarence Hobart, that's all I know at 
the moment." 

A S THE big man talked, his dark eyes 

kept blinking nervously. Rush 

wondered if it was an involuntary habit, 

or merely something brought on by his 

wrought up condition. 

Then Judge English was saying 
quickly, "Look, you're R. J. Randall, 
aren't you? I've seen your pictures in 
the papers from time to time." 

Rush nodded. 

"Perhaps you can help. Would you 
mind calling me back in, say, an hour?" 
He indicated the girl. "Miss Williams 
can tell you. I . . ." 

He seemed visibly upset. 

"Yes?" Rush prompted. 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



117 



"A man ... a man I do not know, 
just called me. He said it was some- 
thing about my son Howard. He 
sounded . . . sort of terrified, in a 
way. He's going to meet me right 
away." 

Rush said, "If you would like me to 
come along . . ." 

Judge English shook his head 
quickly. "No! That would be dan- 
gerous ... for Howard. The man 
who phoned warned me to come alone. 
But I'll be back tonight. Perhaps, 
then, you can help me. I hope you 
will . . ." 

The last was said pleadingly, as the 
gray-haired man paused with his foot 
on the cab running board. 

Rush nodded. "You will hear from 
me later," he offered. 

Judge English left then, urging the 
driver to full speed. For a brief mo- 
ment, Rush and the girl stood looking 
after the disappearing cab. 

Then Lucky Williams touched his 
arm, said breathlessly, "I was hoping 
. . . Howard might know something 
about Uncle Clarence. But now, with 
him missing . . ." 

She broke off, staring at Rush Ran- 
dall. She was trembling as she asked, 
"What could have happened to them?" 

Instead of answering, he motioned to 
his own car, said, "You can wait at our 
headquarters until after my interview 
with Judge English. That might be 
best." 

Frowning, the girl climbed back into 
the car. But as they started up, she 
said, "But what about Uncle Clarence? 
Aren't you going to try and find him?" 

"That will be taken care of," Rush 
said quietly. 

Lucky Williams appeared upset 
about something, and she sat there, her 
hands again knotted in her lap, and 
from time to time she cast furtive 
glances in Rush Randall's direction. 



He had noted these actions. He had 
also seen something else. He said ab- 
ruptly, "You might show me that object 
which you have been trying to hide." 

The girl jumped. "What . . ." she 
started, evasively. 

Rush continued, "You have been 
holding it ever since we left your uncle's 
apartment." 

The girl was on the point of making 
another denial, but there was some- 
thing about the intent grayness of the 
man's eyes that caused her to give in. 

She opened her hand and held a small 
object toward Rush. 

It was a figurine carved out of finest 
mahogany, not more than four inches 
long, an intricate piece of workmanship. 
It was the tiny figure of an Indian. 

Rush's eyes happened to catch the 
girl watching the object rigidly. Fright 
was plain on her pretty features. 

He said abruptly, "Why do you fear 
it?" 

The girl gave a start. She looked at 
him. 

"Fear it?" she asked. "I don't un- 
derstand." 

"You seem to be frightened." 

"I . . . I'm not frightened," Lucky 
Williams said. "I never saw it before 
in my life. It was on the divan in 
Uncle Clarence's apartment." 

Rush was convinced that she was 
lying about her fear. 

CHAPTER V 

T ATER that night, alone, Rush Ran- 
dall returned to interview Judge 
English. He left the girl at headquar- 
ters with his two partners. She had 
not protested staying there; she ap- 
peared too frightened to do anything 
else. 

Buzz had reported that there had 
been no further reports about the plane. 
Jordon Marsh's disappearance was still 



118 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



quite a mystery. Rush was still keep- 
ing this part of it from the girl. She 
did not know he'd had an appointment 
to meet Jordon Marsh. 

Rush left his car parked in a dark 
side street, walked a block to Judge 
English's residence. The doorman rec- 
ognized the tall, blond man, having seen 
him earlier when he had talked to Judge 
English at the curb. 

"You are to go right upstairs," the 
doorman said. 

"Judge English is at home?" 

The uniformed man shook his head. 

"He returned, sir, but he has de- 
parted again. However, he left a mes- 
sage for you, and you are to go right 
up." He named the floor and apart- 
ment number. Rush took the elevator. 

A butler admitted him to the apart- 
ment. Obviously he had been expecting 
Rush's visit, and recognized him, for 
he said, "This was left for you, sir. 
Judge English had to leave again im- 
mediately, but I was to be sure that this 
envelope was turned over to you." 

Rush looked at the white envelope 
which the butler had picked up from a 
table and handed to him. He broke the 
seal and studied the brief note that was 
inside. 

The hastily written message read: 

I AM CERTAIN THAT I HAVE 
MET THE MAN WHO KNOWS 
WHAT TERRIBLE FATE HAS HAP- 
PENED TO MY SON. I AM GOING 
WITH HIM TO MAKE POSITIVE 
THAT HOWARD IS ALIVE. ANY 
INVESTIGATION AT THIS TIME 
MIGHT BE DISASTROUS. WAIT 
FIVE DAYS. IF I HAVE NOT RE- 
TURNED WITHIN THAT TIME, 
PLEASE INVESTIGATE. 

Rush looked at the butler. "Judge 
English wrote this note?" 

"Yes, sir." The butler jerked his 
head. "I saw him write it myself, sir." 

"Have you any idea whom he met?" 



"No, sir." 

"Or where he went?" 

"No, sir. I have no idea. He didn't 

say, sir." 

T> USH put the message in his pocket 

and departed. He did not intend 

to wait for the five day limit to expire. 

He decided to investigate immediately. 

The doorman of the building recalled 
a certain familiar cab that Judge Eng- 
lish had taken. He gave the name of 
the driver and the address of the com- 
pany which owned the string of taxis. 

He said, "That driver is on the stand 
here every night, sir. But he finished 
about now." He looked at his watch. 
"You ought to be able to catch him as 
he's checking in tonight, sir." He gave 
the address of the garage where the cabs 
were turned in. 

Rush arrived there twenty minutes 
later. He located the driver who had 
picked up Judge English. And was in- 
formed that the man had been driven 
to a small flying field not far from the 
New Jersey end of the George Washing- 
ton Bridge. 

Rush drove out there. 

The field, except for red marker 
lights, was in darkness. But there was 
a small office near the edge of the field, 
and it was inside the building that he 
located the night watchman. 

He asked discreet questions. 

Shortly the man was explaining, 
"Why, sure, they left some time ago." 

Rush Randall's eyes flickered. 
"They?" 

"Yep. The gray-haired man you 
described, and three or four other guys. 
It was these other guys who owned the 
plane, and they waited until your friend 
arrived." 

The watchman, with gestures, de- 
scribed a modern-type plane that ob- 
viously was equipped for long-distance 
flights. The plane, he said, had been 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



119 



kept at the field for the past couple of 
days. No, he didn't know the owners. 
They had merely rented temporary 
space at the field. 

"What was their destination?" Rush 
prodded. 

The man scratched his beard. 

"Well, now," he murmured, "I 
wouldn't know, exactly. But they did 
a funny thing before taking off. They 
changed to heavy clothing. And I 
heard one of them guys say it was going 
to be pretty cold where they were go- 
ing." 

That seemed to be all Rush could 
learn about Judge English's where- 
abouts. And so he returned to his lower 
Manhattan headquarters. 

r>UT if Rush Randall had been in 
Judge English's place, at that mo- 
ment, he would have known little fur- 
ther. 

The gray-haired man was seated in 
the cabin of the big plane, and the men 
were grouped around him as the ship 
droned through the night. 

One man was saying, "And so, that's 
the way it is. We're taking you to see 
your son. You will be shown that he's 
still alive. But we do this only under 
one condition!" 

Judge English glared at the speaker. 
"And that is . . ." he prompted. 

A hypodermic needle flashed in the 
big man's hand. The fellow had leath- 
ery, sunburned skin and a lot of jaw. 

He said, "You take an injection of 
this stuff which keeps you asleep until 
we get there. You'll also get a shot on 
the return trip. It's harmless. Only 
thing is, you won't have any idea where 
you've been taken. Okay?" 

"How do I know I'll ever wake up 
again?" Judge English demanded. 

The man with the hypodermic needle 
grinned. 

"Don't be a chump. You're the guy 



who's gonna save your son from death. 
So you don't think we'd kill you, do 
you?" 

That appeared to be logical. And if 
Judge English was going to see his son 
alive, it looked like he'd have to agree 
to the proposition. He yanked off his 
coat and pulled up his shirt sleeve. 

"All right," he said. 

There was only the prick of the long 
needle that hurt for a moment, then 
he was aware of a swift drowsiness 
that was flowing over him. 

He tried to remain awake, to hear 
what was being said, but all he cou'.d 
remember at the very last was some- 
one saying, "Wait'll he wakes up two 
days from now!" 

JUDGE ENGLISH was surprised 
J when he did wake up. He had ex- 
perienced doubts, just before losing con- 
sciousness, that he might ever see this 
world again. 

But he did, and it was a strange 
world at first — very silent, very mys- 
terious, as though all time had suddenly 
stopped and he was the only individual 
in the entire universe. 

He was lying in a crude swing, on 
the porch of a large, rustic hut of some 
sort. Judge English sat up and rubbed 
kinks from his arms and legs. He felt 
incredibly hungry. He stared around 
him. And all that met the eye in every 
direction was deep forest. Trees grew 
everywhere, heavily foliaged, very 
green. It was warm, and from some- 
where overhead the rays of a hot sun 
slanted through the trees and cast 
grotesque patterns on the earth. 

Judge English had no idea how long 
he'd been asleep. 

He stood up and walked the length of 
the porch. It had been well built of 
sturdy logs. 

He returned to the open front door- 
way and yelled, "Hey!" 



120 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Immediately, someone moved inside 
the house. A man shortly appeared in 
the cabin doorway. He was one of the 
big fellows who had been aboard the 
plane, and he was rubbing sleep from 
his eyes. 

Seeing Judge English awake, he gave 
a shout and hurried out onto the porch. 
Soon, more of his associates were out 
there with him. They, too, looked like 
they had been taking some sort of si- 
esta. Half a dozen men gathered 
around the gray-haired man. 

One, though, appeared to be the 
leader. This one had not been on the 
plane. 

He was a tall, well set-up man with 
sandy-colored hair. He looked very 
healthy and very grim. 

He said, "You understand why you 
were brought here?" 

Judge English nodded. "My son dis- 
appeared mysteriously. Why, I do not 
know. But I have been told that he 
is here, and I have been brought to see 
him." 

"Exactly," said the leader. 

"Well?" demanded the judge. 

"Come along." 

The tall leader of the group led the 
way inside the shack. The leader 
swung into a room, stepped aside as, 
closely watched, Judge English was fol- 
lowed in by the other men. 

The cage, extending from floor to 
ceiling, had been built in the center of 
the large room. It was made of poles 
stout enough to have the strength of 
steel bars. 

TNSIDE the cage, sitting on a chair 
and looking terrified, was a slender 
young man with dark hair and some- 
what pallid features. He had the same 
angular, strong face of Judge English 
himself. 

He jumped up and cried, "Father!" 
Judge English stood there, emotion 



plain on his stern face, his big form 
trembling. "Howard!" he said. "Then 
you are alive?" 

Gripping the stout bars, Howard 
English asked tensely, "Did they tell 
you about the ... the little Indian?" 

Judge English's eyes narrowed care- 
fully. "The Indian?" he asked. 

Before his son could answer, two men 
grabbed the judge by the arms and 
started out of the room with him. 

"That's what you're gonna learn 
about now!" one guard said. 

The others, in the room with Judge 
English's son, waited silently. A half 
hour passed. Finally the judge was led 
back into the room. 

Sweat covered the man's features. 
He was trembling. Terror was mirrored 
in his wildly staring eyes. 

His son stared, asked, "What is it? 
What did you see in there?" 

But Judge English merely shook his 
head dazedly. He muttered, "They're 
taking me back to New York. I'll raise 
the hundred thousand dollars. Then 
. . . then you'll be released." 

"Raise the money for what?" young 
English prodded. 

But the elderly man merely shook his 
head. He appeared too terrified to 
speak. "I can't tell you ! " he blurted. 

He was led out. 

But outside the room, a trace of cour- 
age seemed to return to him. Judge 
English was a solidly built man, and he 
suddenly whirled on his captors. He 
roared, "Damn you . . ." 

He was slugged from behind by some- 
one with a blackjack. 

When he awoke, he was in a plane, 
and the plane was moving. He was 
tied hand and foot, and was in the 
cabin of the same ship that had brought 
him to the mysterious hideout. 

A man stood over him, and the fel- 
low smiled. 

He said, "This will hold you until 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



121 



we get to New York! " 

He had a hypodermic needle in his 
hand, and now he quickly seized the 
judge's arm, rolled back the sleeve, and 
jabbed in the long needle. 

Within seconds, the drowsy feeling 
was stealing over him. He tried to fight 
off the heaviness. It was hopeless. 
There was only the droning of the plane 
motors, and someone talking at another 
point in the big cabin and . . . 

Judge English woke up on a park 
bench behind the big library at 42nd 
Street and Fifth Avenue, in New York 
City. It was just shortly after dawn, 
and there was a cool chill in the air. 
He felt half starved. 

But before doing anything about his 
hunger, he hurried to a cigar store and 
put through a telephone call to Rush 
Randall. 

CHAPTER VI 

T^ARLY that same morning, shortly 
after receiving the telephone call 
from Judge Randall, Rush left his office. 
But first, he gave himself an injection 
of a peculiar chemical. He also left a 
message for Buzz and Deacon, stating 
that they were to wait, in case there 
should be any word from Jordon Marsh, 
the millionaire. 

It had been six days now since the 
millionaire politician had vanished. 

Strangely, Rush had done nothing — 
so far — about the disappearance of 
Clarence Hobart or the judge and his 
son. The girl, Lucky Williams, had 
been quite upset about this. And she 
was so anxious for information, that 
she had remained at his headquarters, 
waiting for any news. 

She had been given a private room 
in their unusual apartment. 

Lucky Williams, looking bright and 
attractive as a new spring hat, was in 
the library when, some time after Rush 



Randall's departure, Buzz and Deacon 
came from their rooms. 

Deacon was wearing dark somber 
clothes as usual. But now a fre?h 
flower was in the lapel of his coat. 

Buzz, yawning as he strolled into the 
room, looked as if he had slept in his 
clothes — much to Deacon's disgust. 
But both men brightened at the sight 
of the trim, pretty-looking redhead. 

Buzz Casey said, "Honey, did any- 
one ever tell you that you're beautiful?" 

"Yes," the girl said brightly. "Dea- 
con did." 

Deacon laughed. "That'll hold you, 
you flat-footed runt!" 

Buzz made a swing at his partner. 
There threatened to be a fight. 

The two men started a loud argu- 
ment. 

The telephone started ringing. 

Lucky Williams said, "The phone is 
ringing!" 

She tried to make herself heard above 
the racket taking place between Buzz 
and Deacon. Finally her words pene- 
trated the somewhat blue air. 

"I said the telephone is ringing!" 

Little Buzz Casey leaped to answer 
it. It was Rush calling. 

Rush announced: "Judge English has 
returned to New York." 

That was news for hard-bitten little 
Buzz. He had not known where their 
partner had gone that morning. Buzz 
repeated the news for those in the room 
with him. 

Rush continued: "You and Deacon 
will remain at headquarters. Try to 
pick up any word about the kidnapped 
men from any of the airports. I might 
be gone for several days." 

Buzz frowned. "Where you going?" 

HpHERE was a slight pause, then 

Rush Randall said, "Judge English 

has seen his son, but is too terrified to 

go on. I am replacing him. The jour- 



122 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



ney will take several days." 

The girl, listening, heard his words. 
She seemed startled. She moved for- 
ward, took the phone from Buzz's 
hand, said into the mouthpiece, "But 
what about my uncle?" 

Rush did not reply to the question. 

"Darn!" the girl said, stamping her 
foot. She handed the phone back to 
Buzz Casey. 

"Rush?" Buzz said. 

"Yes?" 

"What about that little Indian gadget 
the girl found?" 

"That seems to be tied in with the 
mystery." 

"But . . ." 

"You will," continued Rush, "keep 
your eyes open for any further sign of 
that omen." 

"Omen?" Buzz was puzzled. 

"It is an Indian superstition," said 
Rush Randall. "Investigate anyone 
who knows something about that thing. 
That is quite important. Also, you 
might keep a lookout for that crazy 
Indian. Mike was apparently fright- 
ened away because of it." 

'You mean," asked Buzz, "because 
of that omen?" 

"Yes." 

A moment later Rush hung up. 

The girl, her lovely face tense, looked 
at the two men. She said, "Where is 
Rush Randall going?" 

Buzz shrugged. "We have no idea," 
he said. 

"No, we can't even guess," said Dea- 
con, looking gloomy. 

If they had only known, they would 
have been convinced that Rush Ran- 
dall had no idea, either. 

XT EITHER would they have recog- 
nized their leader and partner. 
Skin stain and pieces of paraffin in- 
serted inside his cheeks had changed 
Rush's character. He now had dark, 



leathery features and a limp. He was 
stoop-shouldered. He looked like an 
old codger who might have spent most 
of his life in the Maine backwoods. 

The instructions for meeting those 
who knew about the Indian thing men- 
ace — turned over to Rush by Judge 
English — had been quite specific. Rush 
was to take the noon ferry from 125th 
Street, cross to Fort Lee, and enroute 
watch for a man on board who would 
be wearing a derby and whistling "Mex- 
icale Rose." He was to follow this per- 
son from the ferry on the Jersey side 
and get into the car which the man in 
the derby hat approached. 

The contact was made, and "Derby 
Hat" was a big, powerful fellow with 
sunburned features and wedge-shaped 
shoulders. There were three other men 
waiting in the car on the Jersey shore. 

Rush, limping a little and bent over, 
climbed into the car, and the machine 
started up and they went away from 
there in quite a hurry. 

All the individuals in the machine 
were browned and husky-looking. The 
driver seemed to be in charge. With- 
out turning his head as he sent the car 
climbing the long hill up out of town, 
he said, "You have the money?" 

Rush, speaking with a slight twang, 
said, "Reckon as I have. Check." 

"A check?" 

"Yep. It will be handed over to you 
when I see Howard English released, 
in my custody." 

"Let's see that check," someone de- 
manded. 

Rush slowly and painstakingly ex- 
tracted a check from a worn billfold 
that he carried in his inner pocket. 
His coat was of a design that had gone 
out of style almost a dozen years ago. 

The two men seated on either side of 
him looked at the check. 

One exclaimed, "What the hell! 
There's places on that check for two 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



123 



signatures . . . but only Judge Eng- 
lish has signed it!" 

"Yep," agreed Rush, still using his 
old-codger twang. 

"What's the idea?" 

"Tell you," said Rush. "When the 
other signature is put on the check, 
that piece of paper will be honored at 
any bank in New York. That's Judge 
English's agreement." 

"Whose signature?" someone wanted 
to know. 

"Mine," said Rush Randall. 

Another man commented, "Nobody's 
kidding that foxy judge!" 

"I guess not!" said the driver. Then, 
"Well, that plan is okay with us, I 
think. We'll take this old geezer out 
there." 

He continued driving at a fairly good 
rate of speed. 

And some time before one o'clock 
that afternoon, they arrived at the 
small, private airport in the Jersey hills. 
The big silver plane was waiting on the 
field, and Rush, as the old man, was 
taken aboard. A few moments later 
the plane took the air, circled the field 
twice so the pilot could mke certain that 
no one had followed and then headed 
north. 

Two men came into the cabin where 
Doc was seated. One said, "Pop, you 
gotta get a treatment." 

"Treatment?" 

"Yeah. We're gonna give you a little 
shot. It won't hurt you any. You'll 
just sleep the rest of the way. You see, 
we ain't taking no chances on you find- 
ing out where we're taking you." 

The old fellow seemed to think that 
over for a moment. 

"Wal, I reckon I'll have to take it," 
he said finally. 

They gave Rush the kind of an injec- 
tion they had administered to Judge 
English. 

Soon, Rush was stretched out limply 



on a bunk that had been installed in 
place of some of the cabin seats. He 
snored loudly. 

One of the passengers grinned. 

"Won't that old boy be surprised 
when he wakes up?" he said. 

"I guess so!" agreed his partner. 

Rush Randall listened to the remarks 
and tried to decide whether the plane 
was still heading north or not. Later, 
if the men should step into the cockpit, 
he might be able to find out. 

AT FIRST, the drug reaction in his 
system was terrific. For the in- 
jection that Rush had taken earlier, 
as an antidote for the hypodermic given 
him aboard the plane, was now counter- 
acting effects of that hypo. Rush 
fought off the strange sleep. 

Judge English had told him of the 
injection which kept him asleep 
throughout the journey to the mysteri- 
ous hideout. So Rush Randall had 
been prepared for the same thing. 

He was not "asleep" now. In fact, 
he was quite wide awake, as a result of 
one drug trying to overcome the other 
in his system. It was his splendid phy- 
sical condition that finally won out. He 
remained awake— though to anyone 
who might have closely examined him, 
he appeared to be a person in deep 
slumber. 

He listened carefully, careful not to 
make any movement, and after awhile 
he was certain that the plane was not 
heading north. 

Men came into the cabin at intervals. 
They discussed the flight. Rush lis- 
tened. . . . 

A day and a night passed, and some 
time early in the morning the big ship 
came down and landed on the long 
stretch of hard-packed sand that 
formed a beach bordering a river. 

All around the isolated region, heavy 
foliage was everywhere. A dark forest 



124 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



grew to the water's edge, excepting 
the strip of beach, and this forest of 
stately trees slowly mounted upward 
into mountains that lay beyond. 

But the entire thing, the green for- 
ests, the mountains, even the cloud- 
studded sky was reflected in the flat, 
smooth water like something done in 
oils. The air was motionless and warm. 

The great silence everywhere was 
somewhat breath-taking. 

Rush Randall was removed from the 
plane, laid down on the beach, and a 
discussion followed as to just how the 
big fellow was to be carried. Nobody 
seemed to relish the job. 

While the men were talking about 
that, a man appeared along the trail 
that led out of the deep forest, hailed 
them, and came down the beach to the 
plane. 

Someone said, "It's Mort. He'll tell 
us what to do." 

A/TORT, it turned out, was a thin, 
trim man with cool gray eyes. It 
appeared he had arrived from some 
camp located not far from the river. 

He said now, "We're not taking this 
old guy up to the camp." 

Rush knew that Mort was referring 
to himself. Through slitted lids, Rush 
had obtained one quick glimpse of the 
man, but he dared not look again. 
Someone might see the movement of 
his eyelids. 

"Why not?" one of the men from the 
plane demanded. 

"Because we've moved Howard Eng- 
lish." 

"Moved him?" 

"Yeah. We think maybe his father 
might have figured out something. 
Maybe he guessed the location. So 
we've sent him up to the passage. That's 
where you'll take this contact man." 

"You mean," someone said in sur- 
prise, "up to the Crazy Indian?" 



"That's right." 

There seemed to be some doubt in 
the men's minds about making the trip 
to the Crazy Indian at this time; this 
was more of a feeling that Rush sensed, 
rather than hearing any actual words 
spoken. 

"Howard English," continued the 
man named Mort, "is at the Passage. 
It'll take you about two days. We've 
got things all ready and waiting for you. 
So you'd better get started." 

Rush Randall, listening, continued to 
assume his sleeping, unconscious atti- 
tude. He had planned a break when 
the plane flight was ended, but that plan 
was swiftly changed now. 

For he had an idea, now, where he 
was. The plane had not flown north. 
The comments about the direction the 
plane was flying were made simply for 
his benefit, before they thought he had 
been knocked out by the drug. They 
had wanted him to believe the hideout 
was somewhere north. 

Rush guessed it was South America. 
They had flown too long to make it 
Panama or Central America, though the 
country, what he had seen of it, was 
similar. 

The thick jungle growth all around 
them, the odor of tropical foliage, the 
quiet motionless warmth told him these 
things. And something else. 

The girl had mentioned South 
America when she told Rush and his 
partners about Mike, the strange-act- 
ing Indian who was supposed to be 
more than a hundred years old. And 
all three men who had so mysteriously 
dropped from sight — Jordon Marsh; 
the girl's uncle, Clarence Hobart; 
Judge English — all of them, according 
to the girl, had been associated in one 
way or another. There was her com- 
ment about a project the three wealthy 
men had been interested in down in 
Florida. Somewhere, Mike, the In- 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



125 



dian, was tied in with that too. 

And now Judge English's son, How- 
ard, had been apparently abducted also. 
Where did he fit into the mystery? 

Well, it looked as if Rush was going 
to find out. They were going to take 
him inland, from the comments he 
heard, to the spot where they were hold- 
ing Howard English. Where was the 
Crazy Indian, and just what was it? 
They spoke of it as if it were an in- 
animate thing. Odd! 

Mort was saying, "You guys will be 
met by the chief when you get up 
there. He's got some other stuff lined 
up." 

Someone whistled. 

There were exclamations. 

From the undercurrent of tenseness 
that Rush Randall quickly sensed, he 
knew a reference had been made to the 
real brains behind the mystery. Some- 
where in this vast jungle of space was 
the solution. 

Would he live to return to the "out- 
side" again, or to get word to his asso- 
ciates? He wondered if, for once, he 
had carried this thrill for adventure just 
a little too far. 

They were getting ready to start. 

CHAPTER VII 

AN IMPROVISED rack was con- 
structed, and his big, hard-muscled 
frame was tied securely to that. Rush 
still pretended deep slumber. 

The trek through the forest lasted 
several hours. The heat was not un- 
bearable, for the thick green foliage 
shut out practically all sunlight, and it 
was moist and humid in the shadows 
beneath the trees. There was the heavy, 
sweet smell of wild orchids, growing 
atop the tall trees. 

They reached another, smaller river. 
He was transferred to a boat. It was a 
large affair made of stout saplings and 



logs. There was a cabin of sorts, its 
walls laced with heavy matlike material 
that was was as secure as the bars of 
a prison. Light came through tiny 
cracks in the latticed material. 

He was placed inside, still tied hand 
and foot, and a door was latched se- 
curely. The trip continued, men poling 
the wide, flat craft downstream. 

Another day passed. 

Rush knew that two men stood guard 
outside the cabin. He had heard them 
talking from time to time. Mort, ob- 
viously, was taking no chances — though 
everyone still believed Rush Randall to 
be under the influence of the sleeping 
drug. 

Night came again, and some time 
after dark the boat stopped. There was 
heavy silence for a while, and then ac- 
tivity began. Rush listened. 

He heard men talking. 

Someone came into the dark cabin 
where he lay motionless on the hard 
floor. Others followed. Rush chanced 
a look before a lamp was lighted. 

They were cool, gray-eyed Mort's 
men, but the leader was not with them. 

One said, "I got this thing all figured 
out. and this is one job we get out of. 
We'll make that big fellow carry this 
old guy!" 

Rush was suddenly very alert. 

"You mean," someone asked, "that 
guy thev captured along with Jordon 
Marsh?" 

"Yeah. Him. He's built like a horse." 

"Then we're gonna push through to 
the Crazy Indian without waiting for 
the chief?" 

"Right," someone replied. 

Men picked up Rush Randall and 
carried him out on deck. Lanterns 
moved in the night, and it was cooler 
now, though the heavy humidity wa> 
everywhere. Blackness cloaked every- 
thing around them. 

"Bring that big bozo aboard," some- 



126 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



one said. 

Rush chanced a slitted glimpse 
through his eyelids. The darkness cov- 
ered his guarded glance. He saw that 
the raft-like craft was tied up along the 
shore. 

Shortly, under guard, a tall, powerful, 
dark-skinned figure was led aboard. He 
wore only tattered trousers and a 
ripped, dirtied white shirt. Appearance 
of his clothing indicated he must have 
put up a magnificent fight before being 
subdued. 

It struck Rush, sneaking a glance at 
the figure, that the fellow would have 
looked more natural clad merely in a 
loin cloth. Especially in this wilder- 
ness jungle interior. 

For he was an Indian native ! 

Then the single name flashed through 
Rush Randall's mind. Mike! The 
Indian the girl had talked about. Hadn't 
someone just referred to the "guy who 
was captured along with Jordon 
Marsh"? Mike, the Indian, was Jor- 
don Marsh's protege. Why, Rush still 
had to learn. 

Right now, though, he saw an oppor- 
tunity for an escape while at the time 
learning what the mystery was about. 
The girl had said Mike spoke English! 

Rush wondered why the Indian had 
been coming to his office that morning. 
Did the fellow know him? 

TF THE tall, hard-muscled Indian rec- 
ognized Rush Randall, he gave no 
sign. He stood there in the quiet night, 
his face impassive. 

Behind him, handcuffed to a guard, 
was a little, mousy-looking man with 
thin gray hair and jumpy eyes. Rush 
almost opened his eyes wide in amaze- 
ment. 

Clarence Hobart, the girl's uncle! 
The wealthy owner of a chain of news- 
papers! 

Naturally Clarence Hobart did not 



know Rush — at least not now, the way 
Rush was posing as an old codger. He 
doubted if the newspaper magnet knew 
him anyway. 

All Rush could do was bide his time. 

The fussy-looking little newspaper 
owner was saying in wonderment, "My 
goodness! What are you going to do 
with us now?" 

A man laughed. 

"We're going to take a little hike, 
pal." 

They went ashore. 

Rush, to all appearances still 
drugged, was picked up and loaded on 
the powerful Indian's massive shoul- 
ders. He was slung across the big fel- 
low's back like a limp sack. Then the 
crooks use a neat trick to assure them- 
selves that the Indian could make no 
dangerous move. 

Heavy rope was passed around his 
waist, and the rope bound Rush Ran- 
dall's hands and feet to this. Also, 
where the Indian's hands were support- 
ing Rush's body, they were also tied in 
this position. Thus the Indian was tied 
to his heavy burden, and it would have 
been impossible for him to make any 
sort of attack against the men who ac- 
companied him. 

The party set out along a forest trail 
that bordered the shore line. 

Throughout the remainder of that 
night, using the lanterns, the men 
trekked through the wilderness. At 
intervals, there were rest stops. Big 
Mike was made to lie down with his 
heavy burden still tied securely to him. 
He was watched every moment by two 
men who carried guns. 

Rush Randall, apparently, was still 
unconscious. 

O USH, so far, had made no attempt 

to escape. Because there was 

something he still sought — location of 

this object referred to as the Cra^y In- 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



127 



dian. Finding it meant finding Howard 
English, and perhaps the others. Also, 
it could be the real hideout or the clue 
to the location of the person behind the 
mysterious disappearances. 

Who was he? And what was the sig- 
nificance of the little carved wooden 
images of Indians? 

The trek kept moving onward 
through the night. The trail was fairly 
well defined. The men, obviously, had 
used it before, and before them some- 
one else had worn a path through the 
jungle growth. 

The air changed, became still cooler. 
They climbed steadily, with the rest 
stops more frequent, and from time to 
time Rush saw patches of star-studded 
sky. Sometime before dawn they fol- 
lowed a high ridge, completely clear of 
the jungle now, and the blue sky was all 
around them. There was some wind. 

Dawn came. 

A rest had been called, and every- 
one seemed to be waiting for something. 
As it became brighter, Rush through 
narrowed eyelids, saw a surveyor's 
sighting instrument set up on a particu- 
lar high point of ground. Another man 
stood by with a notebook in his hand, 
and he started calling off figures. 

Everyone was watching and waiting, 
which gave Rush Randall the oppor- 
tunity to watch also. He made a men- 
tal note of the readings and comments. 
He heard that reference to the "Pass- 
age" again. 

The man at the instrument finally 
announced, "There she is! It'll take 
us about four more hours to reach the 
Crazy Indian!" 

He gave a few more figures to the 
man with the notebook. Apparently 
they were the directions to be followed 
until the Crazy Indian was reached. 

Just as the party was ready to set 
out again, a man approached from the 
rear. He had been trailing the group, 



was one of the guards himself. He 
carried some sort of small paper in 
his hand. 

"Damn' good thing I brought up the 
rear!" he announced. He passed the 
paper to the leader, thin, wiry Mort, 
but to the others who were watching 
him, he said, "That dropped from in- 
side the old guy's shirt while he was 
being lugged through the forest. He's 
Rush Randall!" 

Rush slid from the Indian's wide 
shoulders, the ropes seemed to fall away 
as though they'd been severed in a 
dozen places by a knife, and both men 
leaped toward their nearest guards. 

A wild, confused battle followed. 

A T THE first hint of trouble, two 
guards had seized protesting little 
Clarence Hobart and rushed on ahead 
with him. They were soon out of sight 
along a path that dropped sharply 
downhill from the high, exposed ridge. 

The others closed in on Rush and 
big Mike. 

Mike, rumbling with rage and mak- 
ing big bear sounds, grabbed two men, 
got his massive arms around them and 
started banging their heads together. 

Rush had already knocked out two 
more men with two single blows. The 
tall blond adventurer's speed was 
astounding. 

The fight moved back and forth 
across the high point of ground. Men 
fell, knocked down, but they got up 
again and kept slugging at Rush and 
the Indian. 

There were enough figures in the 
fight, that confusion was too great for 
the use of guns. 

But one man — he had been carrying 
an equipment pack — broke free of the 
melee at the beginning, and he had now 
run off to one side and was frantically 
working at the draw-string on his pack. 

Shortly he had a heavy-looking wea- 



123 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



pon in his hands, was busy snapping two 
portable parts of it together. He in- 
serted what looked like a magazine 
drum filled with cartridges. 

The weapon was a portable machine 
gun. The man straightened with the 
object in his hands, and he yelled: 

"Back you guys! Out of the way!" 

Those who had not been knocked out 
fell swiftly away from Rush Randall 
and the giant Indian. They ran. 

The machine gun was pointed toward 
Rush and big Mike. 

But even in the split second when the 
gunner had yelled to his partners, Rush 
and the Indian moved with amazing 
speed. They carried no guns them- 
selves. To remain there and face the 
machine-gunner would mean certain 
death. 

And so they plunged down a steep 
path that led back the way they had 
approached the lookout point. The nar- 
row path skirted a hump of ground, 
and it was this that protected them 
from being seen. 

For the machine gun gobbled and 
roared, sending chunks of dirt flying 
around them. But the gunner was ex- 
cited. His aim was faulty. By the 
time he got the deadly weapon under 
control, forcing it downward for better 
aim, Rush and the Indian had reached 
the protection of the trees downtrail. 
Soon they were completely hidden in 
the forest again. 

The gun, though, continued to send 
out blasts at intervals. It continued to 
do so for some time, giving the two men 
no chance to stalk their captors. 

And so, since they were unarmed, 
they continued along the backtrail 
through the great silent forest, and 
about midafternoon of that day they 
reached the point where the large, fiat- 
bottomed raft had landed them. They 
looked for it. 

It was gone. 



CHAPTER VIII 

HTHERE had been little time for talk 
during the tense hours of escape 
along the backtrail. Half running, half 
dog-trotting, Rush Randall had been 
hard put to conserve every ounce of his 
strength. Several times they had 
stopped at fresh water springs, where 
Rush had flung himself down to gulp 
the cool water. 

His entire body had been feverish 
because of the lack of water and the 
effects of the drugs. He had been so 
long without food, however, that he did 
not feel hungry. Yet big Mike must 
have known that he had not eaten. 
From time to time, as they hurried 
along the shaded trail, the Indian had 
dodged off into the matted undergrowth 
to swiftly return again with fistfuls of 
wild berries. He had forced them on 
Rush. 

"Eat! " the Indian ordered. 

The berries had acted as liquid as 
well as food. They had taken the fever 
from his body and soothed his parched 
throat. 

Now the two men, sweat-bathed and 
panting, stood there and stared at the 
deserted, narrow, muddy river that 
flowed past them. 

Mike said abruptly, "Us being in one 
hell of a fix, boss man." 

Any other time, Rush would have 
laughed at the comment, coming from 
the powerful man who looked, at this 
instant, as if he had never set foot from 
this tropical wilderness. 

The girl, Lucky Williams, had been 
right about big Mike being able to 
speak English. Perhaps now there 
would be a solution . . . 

Rush asked quickly, "Mike, you 
know who I am, don't you? You tried 
to see me in New York." 

The tall, brown-skinned man nodded. 

"I guessing last night," he told Rush. 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



129 



"I keeping piece of glass so us escape 
maybe." 

Rush grinned. "You do all right, 
Mike." 

The glass had been a small bit of 
broken bottle, which the Indian had 
managed to hold concealed in his hand. 
During the trek through the forest, un- 
der cover of night, the Indian had 
managed to cut one of Rush's hands 
free. Then they had taken turns using 
the bit of glass, sawing through the 
ropes, freeing themselves. 

After that it had merely been a case 
of waiting to see what would happen. 
Rush had hoped to learn more about 
the mystery, but all he had heard was 
the information about the Crazy In- 
dian, whatever that was. And then he 
had been recognized. 

He asked now. "Mike, what is hid- 
den down here? Why are those wealthy 
men being kidnapped?" 

HPHE Indian made a pointing motion 
with his hand, indicating the trail 
they had just covered. "Back there in 
hidden valley ... my people." 

"Your people?" 

The Indian nodded. 

"Where are we, anyway?" 

"Amazon." Mike pointed. "Back 
there. No white man ever coming 
there. My people living many years . . ." 

Rush suddenly remembered. "What's 
this about you being a hundred vears 
old?" 

Again Mike nodded. "Secret," he 
said matter-of-factly. "Secret of hid- 
den valley where my people living. 
Mister Marsh, him coming there . . ." 

"Jordon Marsh?" 

"Last year," said the Indian. "Him 
finding hidden valley. Him taking me 
to Florida. I bringing herbs and Mister 
Marsh and the others are raising in 
Florida." 

Suddenly, Rush was beginning to 



piece the thing together. A hidden 
valley somewhere up the Amazon, and 
natives who lived to be well past a hun- 
dred! Many times, in his adventures 
to strange corners of the world, he'd 
heard the story. He'd often wondered 
how true it was. 

And he recalled that wealthy Jordon 
Marsh had been a plantation owner in 
South America. He'd met the man at 
one time. Marsh, obviously, had found 
the secret valley of the Amazon. 

But what strange enterprise had Jor- 
don Marsh started with his friends 
after they had taken Mike, here, to 
Florida, and later to New York? Mike 
had just stated that he had brought 
some of the herbs with him. 

Did Marsh and his associates have 
some wild idea about outliving other 
men, by raising and eating the herbs? 

Could be. Men have tried stranger 
things. 

But the real puzzle was, why had 
each of the men been kidnapped? And 
by whom? 

He asked, "Mike, who kidnapped 
you?" 

The Indian shook his head. "I not 
knowing, boss man." 

"Where did they grab you?" 

"New York." 

Rush thought a moment, his pale 
gray eyes curious. 

"Why did you come to my office. 
Mike? And why did you run away 
when you saw the girl, Lucky Wil- 
liams?" 

"Mister Marsh one day telling me if 
anything happen to him or his friends, 
to be seeing you right away. I going 
to Mister Clarence Hobart's house and 
finding him gone. So I am coming to 
you. Mister Hobart always saying I 
am not worrying Miss Lucky Williams." 

"You weren't supposed to frighten 
her?" 

The Indian nodded. 



130 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Do you know the men who grabbed 
you in New York?" 

"Not knowing. They taking me in 
car to New Jersey, to airport." 

Rush was puzzled. 

More to himself than to the Indian, 
he started to comment, "Damned if I 
can understand why — " 

He stopped saying that and watched 
the Indian's figure. Mike was standing 
stiffly, apparently listening to some- 
thing, his head half cocked to one side. 

Rush listened also, and he couldn't 
hear a thing in the utter silence of the 
afternoon. 

Mike said abruptly, "We keep mov- 
ing. We getting away from here. They 
coming!" He motioned toward the for- 
est trail. 

"You're positive you hear someone?" 

Mike nodded. 

He led the way, picking a trail that 
followed the river. 

Rush Randall, following, wondered 
if he had ever been in such a predica- 
ment. It was imperative that he get 
word to Buzz and Deacon in New York. 
He needed food. Also, he needed equip- 
ment if he was going to accomplish any- 
thing down here. 

He stared bleakly at the wilderness 
all around him. Mike, there, ahead of 
him, was the only person in hundreds 
of miles who could help him. 

He wondered if he could even trust 
Mike? 

TT WAS almost two weeks later that 
the message reached Rush Randall's 
office in Manhattan. Tough little Buzz 
Casey and Deacon, at the moment, were 
enjoying one of their arguments. The 
argument centered around attractive, 
redhaired Lucky Williams. Buzz, wav- 
ing a fist in front of Deacon's gloomy 
face, was saying acidly: 

"The poor girl moved out because of 
you, that's what! Wait'll Rush hears 



that she's gone!" 

Deacon glared. 

"I had nothing to do with it!" he 
snapped. "She got tired of waiting to 
hear from Rush. She thinks Rush isn't 
going to do anything about her uncle's 
disappearance." 

Buzz strutted up and down the office. 
He was wearing baggy trousers and an 
old turtle-neck sweater. 

"Even if you're right, I wouldn't be- 
lieve you!" muttered the homely man. 

Deacon paid no attention to the re- 
mark. 

"Besides," he continued, "even 
though she doubts Rush is trying to 
help her, we can still reach her. She's 
going to be at her apartment, and we 
can get in touch with her any time we 
want." 

Buzz immediately jumped toward the 
phone. He turned, glared at his tall 
partner, demanded, "What was the 
phone number?" 

Deacon consulted a small notebook 
that he took from his pocket. He read 
off a number, and then, as Buzz dialed 
it, added, "I'll talk to her when you are 
connected." 

"The hell you will!" Buzz piped. He 
swung, blocked Deacon's path as his 
partner tried to reach for the phone a 
moment later. 

A woman's voice said, "Hello?" 

Buzz immediately became all smiles. 
In a sugary voice, he said into the 
mouthpiece, "Look, honey child, this is 
your Big Moment . . . Buzz calling 
... I wanted to tell you how badly I 
feel about that gloomy guy who hangs 
around here. I mean, the way he scared 
you out of the place. Now, I was think- 
ing " 

With a yell of rage, Deacon tried to 
reach the phone. 

But Buzz Casey still blocked the 
way, holding the phone in front of him 
and moving around so that Deacon 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



131 



could not reach it. 

The voice at the other end of the 
line said, "Well, listen honey chil', you- 
all will have to call later." 

Buzz jumped. 'What's that?" he 
said. "Who is this?" 

The voice drawled, "Clarabelle. An' 
you-all is callin' the wrong Big Moment. 
You is talkin' to Miss Williams' maid!" 

Deacon, behind Buzz, overheard the 
words and the southern drawl. As Buzz 
slammed up the receiver, Deacon 
dropped into a chair and howled with 
delight. He held his sides. 

"Hello, honey chil'!" he said to his 
tough little partner. 

Buzz grabbed the telephone book, 
flung it. Deacon ducked. 

Buzz muttered, "All right, forget it!" 
He looked upset. 

"Anyway," he added glumly, "I'm 
worried about her. I'm at my wit's 
end." 

"Well," agreed Deacon, "you didn't 
have far to go!" 

This time, Buzz grabbed up tele- 
phone stand and all, and was ready to 
let it fly when the skinny, unhealthy- 
looking man appeared in the hall door- 
way. 

The man wore a messenger's uniform. 
"Hey," he yelled loudly, "I said tele- 
gram!" 

HpHE two partners instantly forgot 
their argument and swung to face 
the messenger. Deacon seized the en- 
velope, ripped it open, unfolded a 
lengthy message. Buzz tried to read 
over his shoulder, but he was so short 
it was impossible for him to see. 

"All right," he snorted. "What is 
it?" 

"From Rush," said Deacon, continu- 
ing to read swiftly. "Hey, he's some- 
where in the Amazon valley. South 
America. Says we're to get a fast plane 
equipped for landing on water, load 



aboard all the equipment we can, and 
get down there. It's a river down there 
some place. 

"How in hell we gonna find it ?" 

"Rush has directions here. He sug- 
gests we pick up the girl, because he 
thinks maybe she can help us find her 
uncle." 

Buzz grinned. "Wow!" he exclaimed. 

"Also," Deacon continued, "we're to 
try to locate the Crazy Indian from the 
air. Rush gives us the possible loca- 
tion." He looked at his partner. "Re- 
member those maps we have of South 
America? We're to check one of them. 
Rush was down there once a long time 
ago. 

Buzz demanded, "How the hell you 
gonna find a crazy Indian from the 
air?" 

"It appears to be a boat of some kind, 
you dope. Rush says so here." 

"I'll be damned!" 

They decided that first they would 
tell the girl, Lucky Williams, the good 
news. Also, Deacon put the machinery 
in operation for readying a plane for a 
flight. At different times, on special 
jobs, they used a charter service air 
line that was familiar with their unusual 
jobs in various parts of the world. Dea- 
con called the number and ordered the 
air line to begin loading the plane. He 
rattled off the supplies needed. Other 
items he and Buzz could pick up here at 
the office. 

Buzz gave the elderly messenger a 
dollar and shooed him out of there. The 
fellow had been standing in the door- 
way listening, open-mouthed. 

Deacon, still on a phone, snapped at 
Buzz, "Call Lucky Williams and tell 
her we're on the way up to see her. Get 
busy, you nitwit!" 

Buzz got the same maid again and 
gave the information. 

A little while later they arrived, using 
their own car, at an exclusive apartment 



132 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



section near Riverside Drive. Deacon 
wanted Buzz to wait in the car, but the 
smaller man only grinned and followed 
him into the ornate lobby of the apart- 
ment building. 

'"THERE was a reception clerk and a 
switchboard operator. Both gave 
hard-bitten Buzz a doubtful regard. His 
features, his clothes were enough to 
place him as a roustabout. 

So Deacon, in his smooth way, did 
the talking. He stated that they wished 
to see Miss Williams, if she had re- 
turned. 

The operator called the apartment, 
waited, then spoke to someone. She 
turned and said, "Yes, there's someone 
up there. You may go right up. Suite 
1001." 

They took the elevator. 

On the tenth floor, Buzz pushed on 
ahead. It had been several days since 
they had seen the girl, and Buzz had 
been worried about her. His weakness 
was pretty girls, and he had fallen hard 
for the trim redhead. 

He rapped on the door, waited. 

"Try to act like a gentleman," Dea- 
con advised. 

From inside the apartment, a voice 
called, "Come in." 

They opened the door, found them- 
selves in a small foyer, and moved to- 
ward what looked like a large living 
room beyond. The living room was ex- 
pensively furnished. There were nu- 
merous deep armchairs. The hall door 
slammed behind them. 

The men with guns in their hands 
rose up from behind the wide chairs. 
One particularly ugly-looking fellow 
said, "We thought you Romeos would 
come here sooner or later!" 

The speaker started shooting. 



T 



O THE amazement of both Buzz 
and Deacon, there was no thunder 



of gunfire. 

The gun simply made a little putt of 
a sound, and a small object whizzed 
past Deacon's arm. 

He suddenly understood. 

"Darts!" he yelled at Buzz, and they 
went into speedy action. 

Deacon's long, fast-moving body 
hurtled a chair and he seized one of 
the men. His fist slashed out. The 
fellow's head snapped back and he fell 
down behind the chair. He lay there, 
motionless. 

Buzz, in the meantime, and with a 
bellow of rage, leaped over chair and 
all and took hold of the man who had 
shot at him. There were five assailants 
in all. The hard little man reached out 
and seized another who was trying to 
aim a dart gun. 

Obviously, the thugs had decided on 
the dart guns in order to avoid too 
much noise in the apartment building. 
The darts were probably poisoned, or 
contained a knockout drug. 

But now, with Buzz ripping loose in 
the midst of the assailants, there was 
little chance to use the strange weapons. 
Buzz swept up a pair of heavy metal 
book ends from a table, gripped them 
in his fists and started cracking skulls. 
There were assorted, painful yells. 

Buzz Casey was never happier than 
when in a good fight. At such times, he 
roared and bellowed. He made a lot of 
racket, and he did a lot of damage. 

Deacon leaped after a man who was 
trying to escape toward the hall door. 
He reached the fellow and brought him 
down with a vase that he had scooped 
up from a table. 

The man lay still. 

Buzz was in the midst of three others 
who were still on their feet. But not 
for long. 

He hit a man with one of the book 
ends, then followed through with his 
foot. The fellow did a flying dive over 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



133 



a chair and didn't get up. 

Another man had reversed the air 
gun in his hand, was bringing it down 
in a smashing drive toward Buzz's head. 
Buzz was not quite fast enough to avoid 
the blow. The steel gun butt struck his 
skull. 

For a moment, leathery-faced Buzz 
looked dazed. Then, shaking his head, 
blinking his small bright eyes — he dived 
in again! He was making a terrific 
racket. 

Outside the apartment, someone was 
pounding on the door. 

A voice yelled behind the panel. 
"Hey, you guys! I've located the 
dame! She sneaked into the building 
next door!" 

T3UZZ hardly heard. Another man 
went down. The last one remain- 
ing on his feet suddenly looked scared 
to death, dived down the long room and 
headed for a window that was open. 
There was a fire escape platform di- 
rectly outside the window. 

Deacon jumped after the man; while 
Buzz bent down to scoop up three of the 
dropped air pistols. He put them in his 
pocket, then leaped to help his gaunt 
partner. 

But the swift-moving Deacon had al- 
ready clipped the last thug. Out on his 
feet, the fellow swayed around in a 
crazy circle, sagged down across the 
window sill. 

Deacon started to lower him to the 
floor. He started to say, "The girl 
must have ducked out just before they 
broke in here . . ." 

He paused, his gaze going out the 
window and apparently freezing on 
something out there. 

Buzz demanded, "What the blazes 
you staring at?" 

In the next moment, he stared also. 

The tenth floor of this building was 
just slightly above the roof level of an 



adjacent structure. Ventilators and 
air-shaft chimneys dotted the graveled 
roof-top. 

The girl had been standing there 
looking toward the apartment where 
the fight was taking place. But now 
she turned, streaking toward a doorway 
that was open atop the roof. 

It was Lucky Williams, hatless, her 
lovely red hair shimmering in the morn- 
ing sunlight. 

"r^OSHAMIGHTY!" Buzz yelled, 
and in the next second had the 
sash up and was out on the fire escape. 
Distance to the adjacent building was 
only about three feet. He leaped. 

Long-legged Deacon was right behind 
him. 

"Hey!" Buzz yelled, as he took out 
across the roof. The girl was almost to 
the open doorway. 

But at his yell, she stumbled, went to 
her knees. However, she was quickly 
on her feet again, and running. 

Behind Buzz and Deacon, a gun 
blasted. The slug whined across their 
heads and a voice bellowed: "Halt in 
the name of the law ! " 

Both men spun around. 

A policeman was sticking his head 
out of the open window of the girl's 
apartment. There was a .3 8 in his fist. 

Another cop appeared in a window 
adjacent, and he started to raise a gun 
also. 

Buzz, without waiting, shoved Dea- 
con behind an airshaft projection near 
by. "Hell with 'em!" he said. "We 
gotta help the girl! Come on!" 

Deacon paused long enough to scoop 
up some small object from the roof. 
Slugs knocked up gravel around his 
feet. 

Ducking low, Buzz and his partner 
reached the door opening through which 
the girl had disappeared. They plunged 
down a flight of iron stairs, found them- 



134 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



selves behind a fire door that led to a 
ton-floor hallway of the apartment 
building. 

They flung out into the hallway and 
saw two sets of elevator doors. The 
elevators were the self-operating type. 
and a small glass button next to one 
shaft was lighted, showing that the car 
was in use. 

They leaped to the other, and Deacon 
held his finger on the button. The 
glass above it lighted, and they waited, 
fuming. 

Buzz said, "She's in the other car!" 

"Must be!" agreed Deacon, forget- 
ting to argue, for once. 

It seemed hours until their car ar- 
rived, and then they were inside, push- 
ing a button that would take the cage 
to the ground floor. Even as the eleva- 
tor started slowly downward, they both 
heard a commotion in the hallway out- 
side. 

Buzz, still pressing the first-floor but- 
ton within the car, grinned. "They can't 
follow until one of those elevators 
is not in use!" he said. 

Deacon jerked his head. "I hope 
not," he said. "There'd be a lot of 
questioning, and we haven't got time 
for that now!" 

They finally reached the ground floor 
and raced out into the hallway. It was 
deserted. 

They hurried out to the street, drew 
up short as they saw police prowl cars 
drawn up before the building next to 
the one they had just left. 

But Deacon pointed out, "Nobody in 
the cars. Come on!" 

They managed to reach their own 
machine without seeing any police and, 
with Buzz at the wheel, got away from 
there. 

T3UZZ CASEY'S driving would hardly 
be recommended for persons with 
weak hearts. 



Deacon gripped the seat. He said, 
"Take it easy!" 

"Got to find her!" Buzz said. 

He went down the block at break- 
neck speed. They saw no signs of the 
girl. He took the corner on complain- 
ing tires, went down a square and 
turned in again at the street which par- 
alleled the girl's. 

They found no trace of her. 

But Buzz, determined, turned in at 
the girl's street again. Just as he did 
so, a police car left the curb, its siren 
whining. 

Buzz flung the steering wheel over 
hard, started a complete circle in the 
street. He went up over the curb, 
missed a lamp-post by inches. But they 
managed to make the turn, and then 
Buzz sent the car racing away from the 
spot. 

The siren behind them made wailing 
sounds in the morning air, but their own 
machine was faster. Soon they had out- 
distanced the police car, turned numer- 
ous corners and were safely away from 
the spot. 

Buzz finally slowed down. Deacon 
let out his breath with relief. 

He said, "Well, I hope you're satis- 
fied!" 

"About what?" Buzz asked. 

"That girl! She's in with those 
crooks, of course. We almost got 
caught in that nicely planted trap!" 

Buzz frowned, shaking his head. 
"Don't believe it!" he snapped. 

"All right," Deacon sighed. "What 
have you got to say about this, then?" 

He held out his hand. In it was the 
small object that he had picked up on 
the roof, the thing the girl had dropped 
when she stumbled. 

It was one of the small wooden min- 
iatures containing the carved figure of 
an Indian. 

Deacon said grimly, "Every time 
someone runs into one of these things, 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



135 



there's trouble!" 

For once, homely Buzz made no com- 
ment. As they continued downtown to- 
ward their office he thought of the girl. 
Perhaps, he decided, Deacon was right. 

Could the girl be involved with those 
behind this unexplainable mystery? 

CHAPTER IX 

r F , HE start for South America was de- 
layed, because of the girl's absence. 
The following morning, while Buzz 
checked final loading of the plane at a 
Long Island airport, Deacon said: 

"I'll go to her apartment once more. 
I've called Judge English. He doesn't 
know a thing. He's under a doctor's 
care because of the ordeal he's been 
through. 

"Did he hear anything further from 
Rush?" 

"No." 

Deacon left. But it was several hours 
before he returned. 

"No trace of her," he announced. 
"No one knows a thing." 

Buzz gave his lanky partner a skep- 
tical look. "Hell," he demanded, "what 
about that maid of hers — the one who 
answered the phone?" 

"We were sucked in," said Deacon. 

"Meaning?" 

"There never was a maid. That's 
something I found out at her apartment 
hotel." 

"But—" Buzz began. 

"That was a gag. Those smart Joes 
did it to lead us into a trap." 

"The cops catch up with them?" 

Deacon shook his head gloomily. 

"It looks," he said, "as if your girl 
friend has flown the coop." 

They tried to get a message through 
to the little village in South America 
from which Rush Randall's wire had 
been sent. But the telegraph office 
would not guarantee that their wire 



would get through. They sent it any- 
way. 

Late that afternoon they were ready 
to take off. The airport was on the 
south shore of Long Island, and there 
was a ramp down which the plane was 
eased into the water. 

Both associates of Rush Randall 
were excellent pilots, but Deacon took 
the controls for the takeoff. As he com- 
mented, "You got your mind too much 
on that babe." 

Buzz, beside him in the cockpit, 
snorted, "She's cute." 

"Too damned cute, if you ask me." 

The argument helped to pass the long 
hours as they flew steadily southward. 
They spelled each other at the controls, 
the other holding air charts on his lap, 
or taking a catnap. They landed sev- 
eral times for fuel. 

Sometime within the next thirty-six 
hours they were over the area described 
by Rush Randall in the message. Dawn 
had just broken. They came down to 
a thousand feet and closely scanned the 
endless green carpet of tropical wilder- 
ness beneath them. 

A huge carpet that was torn here and 
there by a twisting narrow river. There 
were several of the rivers, each sepa- 
rated from the other by the impenetra- 
ble forests. 

It wasn't until they were flying low 
that Deacon remarked, "There's moun- 
tains down there, too. I'd hate like hell 
to get lost in this country." 

"You think this is the river Rush 
mentioned?" Buzz was busy checking 
a chart. He had transferred figures 
from the telegram to the air map, and 
was studying them. 

"If you haven't made any mistake in 
figuring, it is." 

They watched for a shack that was 
supposed to be located along the shore. 
That, and a sandy strip of beach. They 
dropped to five hundred feet. 



136 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Then Deacon was banking the plane 
and circling. He lost more altitude. 

"Take it easy, pal," warned Buzz. 

"I think this is it," said Deacon. 

He watched the river below them, 
saw the narrow strip of beach alongside 
the river, saw a rooftop that gleamed 
momentarily in the morning sunlight. 
He looked especially for smoke or any 
signs of activity. 

Then he announced, "Well, chum, 
here we go!" 

He circled again, throttled back on 
the gas and went into the approach 
glide. He brought the craft down on 
the glass-smooth water with scarcely a 
ripple, taxied toward the beach, eyes 
alert. 

Buzz held a gun ready in his fist, just 
in case. 

Nothing happened. 

'"THEY beached the plane and made 
it secure, then moved along the 
beach. 

The morning stillness was almost 
startling. Each carried a gun now. Each 
was wary. Buzz looked uneasily at the 
closely growing, matted underbrush. 

He said, "I hope there's no fuzzy- 
wuzzies around." 

Deacon indicated tracks in the sun- 
baked sand that was as hard as a ce- 
ment floor. "A plane landed here," he 
pointed out. 

The beach followed the shore for a 
good mile. Midway down its length 
they located the big shack almost con- 
cealed beneath the trees. They still 
had seen no signs of life anywhere. 

Soon they were searching the de- 
serted cabin. There was evidence that 
some of the skimpy furnishings had 
been hastily removed. 

Buzz found his partner standing be- 
fore a cracked old mirror on a wall. 

"Admiring yourself again?" he asked. 

"Look at this," said Deacon. 



There was writing on the mirror. 
The words read: 

FOLLOW TO CRAZY INDIAN 
ACCORDING TO DIRECTIONS 
GIVEN YOU IN TELEGRAM. 
WATCH OUT FOR TRICKS. 

—Rush. 

Buzz exclaimed, "Then Rush was 
here!" 

"Naturally!" said Deacon. "This 
means he must have gone on ahead. 
We're to follow ... if we can locate 
that damned Crazy Indian!" 

Deacon rubbed out the writing with 
his hand. They returned to the plane, 
and soon were in the air again. They'd 
checked the maps and the directions 
given in the telegram, and saw that 
their route was downriver. 

What would take hours by slow-mov- 
ing river raft, was only minutes in the 
air. Soon Deacon was convinced that 
they had found the area where the craft 
had pulled up along the shore. They 
came down and taxied slowly along the 
river, eyes watching. 

Buzz spotted the trail opening into 
the heavy forest. "That looks like it! " 
he pointed out. 

They came up to the tiny point of 
land and killed the engines. Buzz 
climbed out in knee-deep muddy water 
and looked around. He saw where a 
flat-bottomed boat had landed here. 
He noted the trail coming down to the 
tiny patch of beach. He looked for any 
further messages from Rush Randall, 
but could find none. He went back to 
the plane. 

"I wonder where the boat is?" 

Deacon, his head stuck out a window, 
gave the spot a gloomy regard. "Who 
knows? Look, we'd better tie up down- 
stream a bit. Not right here." 

LIE CLIMBED out. The plane, floats 

barely drawing six inches of water, 

was easy to handle. They guided it 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



18*7 



down along the shore until they reached 
a curtain of trees that hung, veil-like, 
down over the water like weeping wil- 
lows. They concealed the plane as best 
as possible. 

They removed distributor parts from 
the engines, locked the cabin. Deacon 
carried an equipment case. Buzz 
strapped on a walkie-talkie radio outfit. 
In his pockets he stuffed some sand- 
wiches taken from one of the food cases 
that were stored in the plane. 

It would have been impossible to fol- 
low the forest trail from the air. And 
Rush, in his long telegram, had said this 
trail was important. It led to the point 
where the readings were to be used for 
locating the Crazy Indian. So there was 
nothing to do but follow his directions. 

They plodded through the deep green 
forests. The vast silence bothered little 
Buzz Casey. "Dammit," he commented 
once, "it'd be good to hear an ambu- 
lance siren going up Broadway. Some- 
thing familiar, huh?" 

Deacon's long face was more gloomy 
than ever. "You just keep your eyes 
open," he warned. "There might be 
more guys around here than you think. 
The blasted woods could be full of 
them!" 

That gave Buzz something to think 
about. His sharp, bright eyes remained 
on the alert, and he carried a heavy .45 
ready in his hard fist. 

They had switched on the walkie- 
talkie, just on the chance Rush might 
be trying to contact them. Rush, though, 
probably had no equipment with him. 
They were still uncertain as to just how 
he had arrived here. It had not been 
mentioned in the telegram. 

The day wore on. 

"GNARLY that afternoon they came out 

atop the ridge, high above the tops 

of trees. Monk found several brass 

casings from machine gun bullets, and 



exclaimed, "Somebody was doing some 
shooting!" 

"This must be the spot, all right," 
said Deacon. He was removing some 
instruments from the equipment case. 
"Let's get done and get out of here, 
before we get a slug! " 

Which seemed to be a good idea. 

Buzz kept watch while his tall, bean- 
pole of a partner set up a small port- 
able sighting instrument. Then Dea- 
took a slip of paper from his pocket. 
He repeated aloud the readings that had 
been sent to them by Rush. He sighted 
the instrument on a spot far off. 

He seemed puzzled. Passing the piece 
of paper to Buzz, he said, "Read those 
figures to me." 

As Buzz read, he again checked the 
sight. Finally he said dully, "Hell!" " 

"See anything?" 

"Only a river. And there's plenty of 
rivers in this country. The Crazy In- 
dian, Rush said, is a boat. It isn't 
there." He removed one of the air 
maps from his pocket and made nota- 
tions. "Perhaps we can locate it from 
the air. They've probably moved it. 
At least, now we know where it's sup- 
posed to be!" 

They started the trek back to the 
plane. 

Buzz cursed the humidity. The air 
was thickly wet, and gave the impres- 
sion of coolness beneath the closely 
growing, tangled trees. Nevertheless 
both men were streaming with perspira- 
tion as the afternoon wore on. Buzz 
was stripped down to the waist now, 
and his sweaty body looked like a 
skinny shaft wound with steel bands. 

The afternoon was waning when they 
reached the river again. Their first 
thought was of the plane. If someone 
had heard them land this morning . . . 

But they found the ship secure and 
intact. They had just completed a 
quick inspection when both heard the 



i&> 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



sound. They listened. 

It was a gasoline engine, and the 
engine was on a boat somewhere on the 
river, for it came down there. 

"Coming this way!" exclaimed Buzz. 

They waited. 

Shortly the boat appeared. It was 
an old gas boat with a small cabin built 
on its deck. As the boat approached 
they made out the figure of a man at 
the wheel. Buzz yelled before Deacon 
could stop him. Regardless, the man 
had spotted the plane concealed beneath 
the trees. 

Buzz said, "Golly! He's an Indian!" 

This was true. 

The man at the wheel was a tall, big 
man with coppery features and heavy 
straight black hair. His features were 
very sharp and very grim-looking. 

They noted these things as the motor 
on the boat was silenced and the craft 
drifted slowly toward them. They 
waded out into the water and waited. 

The boat was almost up to them now. 
It's bow gently scraped the bottom and 
the Indian turned and said something 
to another person who must have been 
in the cabin. 

There was some sort of muffled an- 
swer, and next the girl appeared ab- 
ruptly on deck. 

They gasped. 

The girl, as pretty as ever, was Lucky 
Williams! 

CHAPTER X 

"DUZZ was excited. 

But Deacon murmured sourly, 
"Trouble! I see it coming!" 

Disregarding his remark, Buzz 
scrambled aboard the craft. He grasped 
the girl's slim, straight shoulders. 
"Gosh!" he said. And then, "Gosh! 
You're all right, huh?" 

Deacon had followed with some mis- 
giving. 



"Of course, I'm all right, Buzz," she 
said. She smiled at Deacon. She in- 
dicated the tall, wiry Indian. "This is 
Joe. He has a name a mile long, so 
I call him Joe for short. He's one of 
the best guides in this country." 

Joe nodded. 

"How'd you pick him up?" Buzz 
wanted to know. "And how'd you get 
down here?" 

She smiled again. Her eyes were 
blue now in the fading sunlight. "I 
flew one of the regular airlines, then 
chartered a pilot to bring me to that 
little village from where Rush Randall 
sent the telegram. I picked Joe up 
there." 

It was Deacon who asked, "Have you 
been able to locate Rush or any of the 
others yet?" 

Lucky Williams shook her head. Her 
lovely eyes clouded. "I'm worried," 
she said tautly. 

"We go now," said Joe, the guide. 

Deacon looked at the girl instead of 
the guide. "What's he talking about? 
Go where?" 

"He knows of a camp upriver. He 
told me Jordon Marsh built it several 
years ago. He thinks it might be the 
best place to start the search." 

Deacon thought that over a moment. 
"All right," he agreed. "We'll use the 
plane." 

But the guide shook his head. "Place 
we go, river too narrow," he said with- 
out expression. "Only go by boat." 

Deacon frowned, looking at the girl. 
"Can this guy be trusted?" 

"Absolutely," she said quickly. 

The tall, lanky man shrugged. "Well, 
I guess we can't be any worse off!" 

Obtaining some additional food sup- 
plies from the plane, they set out. 

The river grew narrower. The for- 
ests closed in around them as dusk 
neared. The solitude was tremendous, 
only disturbed by the steady throb of 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



139 



the boat engine which echoed far up 
and down the inland waterway. 

It was dark when the guide put the 
craft into shore again. Deacon held a 
powerful flashlight. All saw the float 
made of heavy logs, and which served 
as a landing point. The raft was an- 
chored to the shore line by heavy chains. 

They went ashore. 

P UZZ was particularly solicitous 
about the girl. But she was first off 
the boat, first to have a small pack sack 
up on her shoulders. 

She said impatiently, "We'll have to 
hurry. Joe told me the camp is a mile 
from here." 

They had brought additional lanterns 
as part of their equipment. Deacon 
had had little to say to the girl. 

However, as far as Buzz Casey was 
concerned, she was tops. She had ex- 
plained to his satisfaction why she had 
so abruptly disappeared from New 
York. 

Joe, the guide, saying nothing, his 
jaws occasionally working on a wad of 
tobacco, led the way through the woods. 

Everywhere there was the v a s t, 
strange silence, as though the whole 
world were waiting for something to 
happen in the next moment. It was 
uncanny. What menace lay ahead in 
the deep interior of this vast country? 

This feeling grew upon them as they 
plodded beneath the trees. The spongy, 
slightly damp ground muffled their 
steps, and about the only sound was 
when they spoke to one another. 

Buzz said abruptly, "I was just think- 
ing." 

Tall Deacon was behind his partner, 
the girl between them as they walked 
single file. 

Deacon said sourly, "Don't flatter 
yourself." 

Disregarding the comment, Buzz 
went on, "I was thinking what a heck 



of a spot we'd be in if this guide walked 
out on us." He waved his arm indicat- 
ing the impenetrable forest that com- 
pletely surrounded them. 

"Shut up! " said Deacon. 

The girl gave a soft laugh. "Buzz," 
she said, "you're worrying needlessly. 
Joe is dependable. He's a wonderful 
guide." 

"I hope so," said Buzz. 

They abruptly emerged in a large 
clearing, and there before them was the 
camp. 

Whoever had built the cabin should 
have been given credit. It was well- 
made, heavy logs forming its sides. 

The girl pointed ahead and ex- 
claimed, "There's someone here I 
There's a light." 

They all hurried forward toward the 
doorway of the building. But suddenly 
the guide spoke in a voice that was 
more of a soft hiss than anything else. 

"You wait! "he said. 

Buzz gave the Indian one of his bel- 
ligerent looks. "Wait for what?" he 
demanded. 

The guide had turned, was motion- 
ing for the others to crouch down. He 
pointed behind them, toward the heavy 
woods from which they'd barely 
emerged. 

"Look!" he said very quietly. 

They all stared. 

Buzz, impatient as always, started to 
mutter, "What the blazes . . ." 

Then he paused, his small eyes blink- 
ing. All of them saw now as their eyes 
concentrated on the darkness beyond 
them. 

Dark forms were moving out from 
the trees. Those near the cabin were 
being surrounded. 

The moving forms were men. 

HPHE guide made a deep sound that 
sounded like a grunt. 
"Trap!" he announced. 



140 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



Buzz shot a look in the general direc- 
tion where the guide was also crouched 
down in the darkness. "Yeah," he 
agreed. "And heap big!" 

They could perceive several dark 
forms advancing swiftly across the 
clearing. 

Deacon was the first to act. He 
leaped to the door of the cabin, pushed 
the girl inside. 

"Keep out of sight!" he ordered. 
"There's going to be a little trouble, 
I'm afraid!" 

Buzz had dropped his pack, was ad- 
vancing across the clearing. His bright, 
small eyes gleamed and his fists knotted. 

"I'll say there's gonna be trouble!" 
he yelled. 

He was first to meet the circle of 
advancing assailants. Deacon and the 
guide were quickly at his side. 

Fists swung. Men yelled in a strange 
tongue. Bones cracked. 

There was enough night light in the 
clearing around the cabin to show the 
moving of figures. Buzz banged his 
way through several of them. They 
were dark-skinned natives. They be- 
came confused. 

Buzz was shouting now, making a 
racket. He grinned every time a figure 
went down beneath his flailing fists. 
Deacon was busy with his fists, too, 
trying to handle a couple of natives at 
once. The natives appeared to be un- 
armed, so the two partners hesitated 
at using guns. 

Joe, the guide, seemed to be doing his 
share of fighting. 

Deacon, seeing his small partner's 
predicament, worked out a little system. 
He picked up a man, whirled around 
and around with him until the fellow 
was dizzy. 



gering backward like a drunk looking 
for a place to light. 

Buzz was waiting. He held his .45 
by the barrel. He tapped the dazed 
native with the gun butt as the fellow 
staggered past him. 

They tried the same method with 
another victim. It worked. 

Three men leaped on scrappy Buzz 
Casey — and this time Deacon hit Buzz 
with a gun. It was a mistake, a result 
of the confusion. But that didn't help 
Buzz Casey. 

He fell flat on his face . . . 

When Buzz swayed to his feet, he was 
aware that the fight had worked its way 
around to the rear of the cabin. There 
was some commotion back there, and 
so he leaped that way. 

But it wasn't a fight. It was Deacon, 
yelling worriedly. The attackers seemed 
to have disappeared. 

Buzz glared at his lanky partner. 

"Where are they?" he demanded. 

Deacon waved toward the deep 
woods. "They took out for the wild 
spaces," he announced. "And now we're 
in one sweet mess. Those birds grabbed 
Joe, our guide!" 

Buzz stared. 

"You mean, he's gone?" 

His partner nodded. 

Suddenly, Buzz yelled, "Poor Lucky! 
She must be scared to death!" He 
leaped toward the rear door of the 
cabin. 

A moment later he appeared outside 
again. His eyes goggled. 

"Goshamighty ! " he yelled. 

"What's wrong with you now?" Dea- 
con demanded. 

"Those fuzzies have got her, too!" 

CHAPTER XI 



HTHEN, setting him upon his feet f^OR a tense moment following his 

again, Deacon sent a single hay- partner's announcement, Deacon 

maker to the jaw. The man went stag- said nothing. For once, Buzz was not 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



141 



joking. 

Around them there was the dark, 
deep solitude of the forest, more omi- 
nous than ever. Nothing stirred. 

Buzz finally said, "Bet you those guys 
figured the girl knows something. That's 
why she was seized." 

Deacon's features were grim. "Has 
it occurred to you." he demanded, "that 
she might have arranged this trap?" 

Apparently it had not, for Buzz 
looked surprised at mention of the idea. 

"Don't believe it!" he exploded. 

Deacon said, "She's in trouble. Her 
uncle. Clarence Hobart is also in some 
sort of trouble, as are the others. Where 
are they? What's happened to them?" 
He spread his hands hopelessly. "It 
looks like some menace threatens that 
entire crowd ! " 

Buzz still didn't look convinced. Aft- 
er some arguing, it was decided, finally, 
that perhaps they'd better try and trail 
the girl. She might be in danger. 

They spent a few moments locating 
things that had been lost in the fight. 
Finally they got started. 

The beginning of the trail led along 
a fairly well-defined path through the 
big woods. Men — or possibly animals 
— had made the trail. It skirted the 
thicker undergrowth. Walking was not 
too difficult. 

They continued onward for about an 
hour. They found no signs of the girl, 
or of the guide, or of anyone else for 
that matter. 

The trail had narrowed now, was 
nothing more than a narrow pathway. 
They came to a fork. 

Since the left branch of the fork 
seemed to be the main route, they fol- 
lowed this. Naturally they first searched 
for footprints. But a heavy carpet of 
old leaves that lay on the ground gave 
no clues. 

They continued. 

And there were more forks in the 



skimpy trail beneath the dense trees, 
and at each of these points the two men 
stopped and argued. Argued about 
which trail to follow. 

For another hour they kept boring 
deeper into the heavy forest. 

Finally Buzz drew up short and said. 
"I think we took the wrong turn at that 
last fork. Better go back." He pointed 
ahead. There was nothing but a wall 
of trees now. "I think we made a mis- 
take." 

They returned, watching for the last 
fork where they had turned off. And 
they discovered a startling fact. 

Going in the opposite direction, 
things were reversed. They came to 
forks in the trail that could lead in other 
directions. They tried one, discovered 
that the pathway ended against a 
snarled mass of undergrowth. They 
returned again — to find that they had 
somehow missed the trail they'd been 
on. 

Buzz blinked his eyes. "What the 
blazes!" he said. 

Deacon frowned. "I could have sworn 
this was the right path." 

"I'll tell you what I think," Buzz 
said. "We're lost!" 

Deacon nodded. "I rather figured 
that an hour ago ! " he admitted. 

And then, as an afterthought, Buzz 
exclaimed, "Daggonit, I wonder if Rush 
is lost too!" 

TF RUSH RANDALL was lost, his 
movements at dawn the following 
morning did not indicate the fact. 

With Big Mike, the Indian at his 
side, Rush seemed to be following some- 
thing or somebody. The two men moved 
silently along the forest trail, not hur- 
rying, pausing from time to time in 
order to listen for some sound that 
might come from ahead. 

Rush asked, "You're sure we're not 
mistaken, Mike?" 



U2 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



The big fellow shook his head. "Not 
being long now, boss man. Missy 
Lucky Williams and man not far 
ahead." 

For sometime, Rush had seen no sign 
indicating the presence of the other 
two people along the trail. Yet Mike 
had insisted they were not far away. 

''You seeing," he said. 

And a few moments later he proved 
that he was right. 

Sunlight showed through the tall 
trees just ahead, and almost in the same 
moment Rush saw water. It looked 
like they were approaching a river. 

Leading the way quietly, Mike moved 
closer to the clearing that led down to 
the water. Suddenly he paused, mo- 
tioning Rush to a position behind a big 
tree trunk. 

They watched. 

The Indian guide had obtained a boat 
from somewhere along shore. Quickly 
he had the craft in the water, and then 
he and the girl were aboard. Each 
handled a paddle. 

The canoe slid out into the water and 
headed downstream. 

Rush said, "Follow them. We can 
keep to the trees along shore." 

They set out, their movements silent. 

The canoe made good time. It was 
necessary for Rush and big Mike to 
run, at the same time keeping them- 
selves concealed along the shore line. 
This was somewhat difficult. 

The river was narrow, and made a 
considerable number of bends in its 
course. It was around one of these 
bends that the canoe had disappeared 
now, and when Rush and his friend 
again caught sight of it — they stopped 
short. 

For Rush saw the amphibian plane 
drawn up close to the shore, practically 
concealed from the river by low-hang- 
ing tree branches. 

Mike turned, asked, "Others being 



here?" 

Rush nodded, his features thoughtful. 

Mike started forward again. 

"Wait!" Rush warned. 

And then Mike saw the reason for 
the warning. 

Because the girl's Indian guide had 
seen the plane, and had now paused, 
his paddle resting across the gunwales. 
He said something to the girl. 

In the next moment she was slipping 
from the forward seat and easing her 
slim form into the bottom of the canoe. 
She lay down and remained out of sight. 

The guide picked up his paddle and, 
looking alert, started toward the spot 
where the plane was moored near shore. 
He used his paddle silently, making no 
splashes as it dipped the smooth water. 

The gun, being fired by someone 
aboard the plane, started shattering the 
still, morning air. 

D USH immediately swept into 
smooth action. 

"Get to the canoe ! " he ordered Mike. 
"Take care of the girl." 

Instantly Rush disappeared through 
a screen of underbrush that hid him 
from the moored plane. He made little 
sound as he worked his way down close 
to shore. It would have been unlikely 
if anyone aboard the plane would have 
heard him anyway, so great was the 
sound being created by the blasting gun. 

The Indian guide had, at first, des- 
perately tried to paddle away from the 
spot. But slugs kicked up water dan- 
gerously close to the flimsy craft. 

Perhaps figuring on drawing the gun- 
fire away from the canoe, the Indian 
leaped overboard and started swimming 
frantically toward a protecting over- 
hang along the river bank. The canoe 
drifted. 

Cabin door of the plane was open. 
Firing stopped for just a moment. Per- 
haps the gunman suspected a trick. Per- 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



143 



haps he knew someone was still aboard 
the canoe. 

He appeared in the cabin doorway 
of the plane and raised the gun again. 

That was when he was seized by Rush 
Randall's powerful hands. There was 
a fight. 

The gunman was fairly young and 
well-built. He was dark-featured, with 
cheeks that were pale for a man found 
in this part of the country. 

He tried to fling Rush from the plane. 

And, instead, found himself held in 
a viselike grip as he was thrown back 
inside the cabin of the ship. The cabin 
was crowded with equipment cases and 
paraphernalia. The man stumbled over 
a case — and the gun fell. 

His feet whipped out and attempted 
to kick the blond whirlwind. The fel- 
low could have saved his energy. 

Because Rush picked him up, pin- 
ioned his arms, and then held him. The 
man found himself absolutely helpless. 
He stared in bewilderment. 

Rush said quietly, "It might be a 
good idea to learn identities before try- 
ing to kill people." 

There was a commotion just then, 
outside the plane. 

Big Mike climbed aboard. With his 
left hand, he gripped the grim-faced 
guide. In his other was the girl, Lucky 
Williams. 

The girl took one look at Rush and 

gasped. Then she cried, "Someone 

aboard this plane was trying to shoot 
}> 

She broke off, her gray-green eyes 
widening. She stared in wonderment 
at the man held by Rush Randall. 

She stammered, "Howard! . . . 
Howard English!" 



H 



CHAPTER XII 

OWARD ENGLISH stared at the 
girl, at Rush Randall, and at big 



Mike. He appeared too stunned to 
speak. 

Finally he blurted, "I . . . I thought 
you were some of them, following me! 
I ... I guess I was pretty scared! " 

"That was quite evident," said Rush. 
"That is why it was necessary to hold 
you. You might have shot somebody." 

Howard English gave him a grateful 
smile. 

"Thanks," he murmured. 

Rush questioned, "You said you were 
escaping from them? Who?" 

Howard English, though he was a 
tall, very capable-looking man, started 
trembling. 

He stammered, "I . . . I . . ." 

"Were you seized," asked Rush, "be- 
cause of the miniature Indian thing?" 

Howard English jumped as though 
he might have been struck by someone. 
Terror was now plain in his eyes. He 
said evasively "Well . . . yes ... in 
a way!" 

"What is it all about?" 

"I. . . I don't know!" Howard Eng- 
lish gasped. But as the same time, his 
wild gaze veered to ageless Mike. It 
was a fleeting glance, and yet it was 
observed by Rush. 

"Well, then," Rush said finally, "all 
we do is return to this place where you 
were being held and blast out this 
crowd!" 

Howard English shook his head. 

"It won't be as easy as that" he said. 

"Why not?" 

"Because, first, you've got to find the 
Crazy Indian. That's where they have 
the real hideout, where they hold all 
captives. I was being taken there when 
I escaped." 

"And you didn't learn the location?" 

"No. I was unconscious part of the 
time. Also they have moved the boat. 
And they were pretty careful about 
mentioning definite locations. I came 
upon this plane, and I was investigat- 



144 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



ing." 

Rush thought Howard English's 
story rang true enough. In Rush's 
pocket was a check that had been drawn 
by the young man's own father, for his 
release. Strangely, though, Rush made 
no mention of that fact now, or that he 
had played the part of the contact man. 

He said, "Perhaps the guide, here, 
can help us?" 

They all looked at the man named 
Joe, whose name the girl had mentioned. 
He had been listening to the conversa- 
tion his lean hard paws working on his 
tobacco cud from time to time. Now he 
took time out to spat. 

He made a motion with his hand, in- 
dicating the river. "Maybe I find for 
you." 

Rush turned to big Mike. "How 
about this hidden valley where your 
people live? Why not there?" 

But Mike shook his head. "My 
people are being what you call very 
timid and peaceful race. They are 
getting frightened when too many peo- 
ple coming. They go away." 

Rush asked, "You don't think the 
boat was taken there?" 

Mike shook his head. "Hidden val- 
ley of my people is being inland, boss 
man. No way to going by boat as 
large as Crazy Indian. Boat is being 
some place else." 

Rush sighed, looked at the girl. 
"What do you think?" 

In turn, Lucky Williams touched 
Howard English's arm. "What about 
the others ? Were they mentioned while 
you were being held captive?" 

"Yes. Your uncle . . . Marsh, too." 

"Any others?" queried Rush. 

"I'm not sure, sir." 

Rush had removed the makeup some- 
time after escaping with his friend 
Mike. He realized that Howard Eng- 
lish had immediately recognized him 
when he had seized the young men here 



on the plane a little while ago. It oc- 
curred to Rush that Howard English 
had not been too surprised. 

"Well," Rush said finally, "all 
aboard, then. We'll see what we can 
learn from the air." 

O USH checked the fuel tanks and the 
reserve supply of gas. There was 
still enough gas for many hours in the 
air. 

It was crowded aboard the plane, but 
everyone managed to find a spot to sit 
down. The girl was in the cockpit with 
Rush Randall. 

She told him about the camp where 
the attack had taken place against Buzz 
and Deacon. 

She explained, "I escaped from there 
during the excitement last night. I was 
afraid. But now I think those natives 
were merely trying to frighten us 
away." 

Rush made no comment. And in the 
next few moments he was busy getting 
the heavy ship in the air. They climbed 
for altitude, headed back up the river. 

Everywhere, for endless miles, was 
the forest. It looked like wild jungle. 

Rush said, "We will first try to lo- 
cate my partners." 

A half hour later he was setting the 
plane down again, taxiing up close to 
the log landing raft which Buzz and the 
others had used the night before. 

Leaving Mike in charge of the plane, 
they had the guide lead the way through 
the woods to the camp. 

It was deserted. They looked around 
outside, but found nothing. Rush made 
a special examination for any hidden 
messages that might have been left for 
him. 

He found none. 

However, Rush did not seem particu- 
larly concerned by his partners' ab- 
sence. He said, "Perhaps we can con- 
tact them later, from the plane." 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



145 



They returned to the plane, were soon 
in the air again. 

The guide, Joe, watched the winding 
river below and gave directions. 

At no time was it possible to tell 
whether the poker-faced guide was try- 
ing to be cooperative or not. His cop- 
pery features continually held a grim 
look. It was as though he was always 
mad about something. 

While Rush checked the route with 
the guide, Howard English manipulated 
dials that controlled the short-wave 
sending and receiving apparatus. He 
knew something about radio. He tuned 
in on a wave-length suggested by Rush. 
Finally he announced: 'T can't pick 
up those guys!" 

O USH himself manipulated the dials. 
But he got no response. His eyes 
were thoughtful. 

Next he sent the plane in a banking 
circle and turned back up the river. 
They reached the point where the cabin 
was located a mile back from shore. 
From there, he flew a course inland, 
in ever-widening circles. 

Below them spread the thick tangle 
of forest, the trees growing so close to- 
gether that it was impossible to see the 
ground beneath them. Here and there 
they picked up a tiny, isolated lake. But 
the forest itself appeared endless. 

Rush said, "If they were down there, 
they would hear the plane. They would 
build a fire, or give us some kind of 
sign." 

Howard English nodded. "In other 
words, they're not down there?" 

"Apparently not," said Rush. 

He turned back to their original 
course, after instructing young English, 
"Keep the radio tuned in." 

The big plane gobbled up miles. What 
would take days of weary travel on the 
ground, was now covered in a matter 
of minutes. But one thing was obvious. 



The plane was only good as long as 
they followed some waterway. The in- 
terior was nothing but wildly growing 
jungle. There was little of anything 
else. 

Sometime later they reached another 
river. The guide indicated that Rush 
was to swing north and follow it. 

They flew perhaps twenty miles — dis- 
tances were deceiving to those aboard 
the plane, due to the vastness of this 
great country — and then the guide mo- 
tioned to another river that lay below 
them. 

It was still another of the many wat- 
erways that sliced into the interior. 

"Follow," the stoney faced guide or- 
dered briefly. 

And shortly the guide pointed to a 
tiny indentation along the shore. 

"Down," he said. 

Rush brought the ship down from 
five thousand feet, and they all saw the 
cove was of a good size. A crane, 
startled, took off from the water and 
disappeared. 

They landed. 

Howard English said doubtfully, 
"Nothing here but more wilderness! 
What the devil?" 

But Rush indicated something that 
was almost hidden beneath trees far 
back in the cove. Only a sharp eye 
could have detected the object. 

"A gas boat!" young English said. 

Everyone saw the deserted craft tied 
up near shore. 

Rush nodded, looking at their guide, 
Joe. 

It was as though Rush had inter- 
cepted the guide's thought, for Joe said 
gruffly, "We use boat now. This thing 
no good." He indicated the plane. 

It was impossible to get too close to 
shore, due to rocks that appeared just 
beneath the surface. There was dan- 
ger of wrecking the plane. 

But part of the plane equipment in- 



146 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



eluded a portable rubber raft. This was 
inflated and put overboard. 

The girl and the Indian guide were 
first taken ashore by big Mike. The 
trip was perhaps two hundred yards 
across the inner curve of the cove. 

Then Mike returned for Rush and 
Howard English. Rush had anchored 
the plane. 

They started out for shore. 

From the gas boat, another hundred 
yards off to their right, men suddenly 
appeared on deck and started shooting. 

CHAPTER XIII 

A T THE first staccato sound of gun- 
fire, Rush whipped toward Howard 
English. 

"Can you swim?" he asked swiftly. 

The young man jerked his head. 

'Then try to get on the far side of 
the plane," Rush advised. "Dive!" 

Rush was an excellent swimmer. It 
turned out that Mike was also. They 
plunged from the raft, Howard Eng- 
lish between them. They disappeared 
below the surface. 

The guns held by the assorted group 
of hard-looking men aboard the fifty- 
foot gas boat whacked out lead, and 
spray was knocked up from the water. 

But the range was bad for small arms. 
It was not far. A man appeared on 
deck with an armful of rifles, and these 
were put into use. 

The gunmen, however, jumped to one 
wrong conclusion. They figured that 
the three swimming men must be mak- 
ing toward shore. Judging about where 
heads would break the surface, they 
directed the gunfire that way. 

The swimmers, meanwhile, came to 
the surface on the far side of the plane. 

They worked their way, by reaching 
up with their hands and still remaining 
in the water, toward the cabin of the 
plane. On the far side of the plane 



rifles were cracking, and there was some 
shouting from the gas boat located 
across the cove. 

Obviously, the gunmen now sus- 
pected the truth — that their prey was 
behind the protection offered by the 
plane. Bullets started arriving that 
way. A couple thumped into the metal 
body of the big amphibian. 

Rush had swung up to a wing and, 
crouched down, had reached over and 
opened the cabin door on their side. 
In a moment, they were inside. 

Howard English stared through a 
window. "Look! " he yelled. 

But Rush had already seen. "Wait!" 
he warned. 

A small rowboat had set out from 
shore. In it were half a dozen men, 
five of them with rifles. A sixth rowed. 
The gunmen kept firing in the direction 
of the plane. 

English said worriedly, "I don't see 
the girl— or that blasted guide!" 

Rush nodded. He was working with 
an object that looked like a type of flare 
pistol. His hands moved swiftly, and 
he seemed oblivious of the crashing im- 
pact of leaden pellets against sides of 
the plane. 

•'The guide," said Rush, "is probably 
hiding with the girl in the woods." 

Rush had the pistol ready now. It 
contained a short barrel perhaps an 
inch in diameter. He stepped near a 
doorway. He fired a single shot. 

There was a loud sound — and then a 
peculiar phenomenon took place. 

A great black cloud seemed to mush- 
room over the cove. It spread rapidly, 
thick and dense, and it enveloped ev- 
erything within sight — water, trees, 
men. 

Rush put away the gun. motioned 
to the others, ordered, "Swim for 
shore." He was already urging them 
out of the cabin, for the cloud was fast 
enclosing the plane, and shortly they 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



147 



wouldn't be able to see a thing. 

Howard English, understanding 
something of the blond adventurer's 
scheme, said, "We'll circle and get 
aboard that gas boat?" 

Rush nodded. 

"But how will we see?" 

"Stick close to us," suggested Rush. 

They got out onto a wing, and then 
slipped back into the water. The shoot- 
ing had stopped now, and all around 
the cove there was the racket of men 
trying to shout directions to one an- 
other. 

The black curtain, however, had 
them confused. 

^O HOWARD ENGLISH, Rush 
Randall's sense of direction seemed 
amazing. All around them was the 
shouting of the excited gunmen, and the 
blackness, and yet Rush pushed through 
the water quietly, intent on one course. 
He was very calm. Mike swam beside 
them. 

Shortly their feet touched bottom and 
they were climbing out onto the shore. 

They could barely see each other in 
the black cloud that had even spread to 
shore. They circled the shore of the 
cove. The men out on the water and 
aboard the gas boat were still yelling 
excited orders to one another. 

But abruptly the shouting stopped 
There was heavy silence. 

"Careful," Rush advised, leading the 
way. "It might be a trick." 

They were keeping to the woods, so 
naturally their progress was necessarily 
slow. 

But they finally reached that part of 
the inlet near where the gas boat had 
been tied up. 

Rush moved ahead silently, every 
sense alert. The black cloud was like 
a heavy fog all around them. 

And then, from out of the fog, loomed 
the bulky outlines of the boat. Rush 



had stopped almost at the water's edge, 
warning the two men with him. 

"Wait here," he said very quietly. 

He was gone two or three moments. 
And then his tall figure appeared from 
out of the foggy blackness. 

"What's happened?" Howard Eng- 
lish wanted to know. 

"They've disappeared," Rush said. 

They started a quiet search. They 
covered the shore line, located the point 
where the guide and the girl had been 
landed. 

They met no one, heard no further 
sounds from the gunmen who had been 
aboard the boat. It was clear now that 
the men, scared off, must have taken to 
the woods. What their plans might be 
was a question. 

Rush had been stooped over, examin- 
ing the ground. He had found some- 
thing that now held his interest. 

He finally said, "The guide, Joe, en- 
tered the woods at this point. There 
are the imprints of his moccasins." 

Howard English blinked. "There is 
only one set of prints," he pointed out. 

The cloud had been slowly lifting. It 
had raised several feet above the water 
now. They could see the gas boat, 
deserted, and off to the right they noted 
the plane, intact. 

There was no sign of the gunmen, 
though, or of the girl, or of the guide. 

Rush said, "There is one other pos- 
sibility in regard to the girl." 

"What would that be?" queried Eng- 
lish. 

"The guide could have been carrying 
her. There is a chance that they are 
in hiding nearby." 

TT HAD started to grow dark now. 
They had little time to prepare for 
the search. 

Big Mike located the rubber raft 
some distance up the shore. They re- 
turned to the plane. Rush selected 



148 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



certain items from his equipment, as 
much as they could comfortably carry. 

Rush tried once more to contact Buzz 
and Deacon. There was no reply. He 
moved a switch that set some kind of 
device on the plane. They returned to 
shore and made a complete search of 
the fifty-foot gas boat. And found noth- 
ing of importance except a number of 
five-gallon tin cans containing gas. 

It was dark when big Mike finally 
picked up the trail of the guide, and 
led the way into the deep forest. The 
route seemed to be following a fairly 
definite course. It did not waver. 

Howard English asked worriedly, "Is 
there anything to show that the girl is 
still with that fellow?" 

Rush shook his head. He was car- 
rying a small black device of some kind 
in his massive fist. It looked not unlike 
a voltmeter. He had been holding onto 
the thing ever since they had left the 
cove. 

And now, unexpectedly, the device 
started making a small vibrating sound. 
Howard English looked at it, then at 
Rush Randall. 

"If we hurry," Rush said, "we can 
reach the plane in half an hour." 

Young English stared. "You're go- 
ing back?" he asked, puzzled. 

Rush nodded. 

"It is possible that Buzz and Deacon 
are in more danger than we figured," he 
said. "It is obvious that there is a rea- 
son for the girl and that guide disap- 
pearing." 

"What do you mean?" 

"There is a second crowd in this mys- 
tery. What their exact purpose might 
be, is not yet clear. But the danger 
from them is just as great as this other 
thing. It is possible that this second 
group are trying to trap Buzz and Dea- 
con." 

"But the girl—" English started. 

"The girl," said Rush, "apparently is 



acquainted with one group. She is either 
working with them, or trying to reach 
them. At the same time, she is terri- 
fied of the other. That would explain 
her actions, her disappearance from 
time to time." 

"But what about the guide?" 

"He could be working for either 
crowd," said Rush. "Which one. we 
do not know." 

Howard English understood. "Then 
there is a purpose in their trying to 
confuse anyone who is trailing them!" 
he exclaimed. 'One crowd wants to 
get us off their tail; the other would 
just as well kill us as not!" 

Rush nodded. 

Worried, Howard English asked, 
"Which one?" 

Rush did not answer. 

They had been returning through the 
forest. English was silent awhile, ask- 
ing no further questions, then suddenly 
he asked, "But what about this thing 
that you say is installed on the plane? 
How did you know . . ." 

Rush explained, indicating the device 
which he carried in his hand. "I turned 
on a sensitized alarm gadget before we 
left the plane." he said. "It sends out 
short-wave pulsations. That's what is 
making this thing register now." 

"You mean," asked English, "some- 
one is trying to get aboard the plane?" 

Rush nodded. "Either that ... or 
Buzz and Deacon are trying to reach us 
on the radio." 

CHAPTER XIV 

'"TWO men drifted slowly down-cur- 
rent on a flat, primitive, large raft. 
They were disheveled. They had grown 
fairly heavy beards. They sat there 
in the hot sunlight and acted as if they 
didn't care whether the raft ever 
reached any place or not. 

Buzz said dull v. "What dav is it?" 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



149 



"Thursday, I think," murmured Dea- 
con. 

''You sure?" 

"No." 

"Then why the hell say Thursday." 

"Shuddup," said Deacon gloomily. 

They continued drifting along. 

Deacon had long since given up try- 
ing to figure out where they were. They 
had wandered through the tangled for- 
est for well over a day. They had come 
upon this river. Which one it was, they 
had no way of knowing. Hours later 
they had located the discarded raft 
along shore. And so they had set out 
downstream, knowing not where they 
were drifting, trusting that they would 
spot some familiar landmark seen be- 
fore. 

The day wore on. 

"Hey!" said Buzz of a sudden. 

Deacon roused. He had been dozing. 

"Eh?" 

Buzz pointed. 

The next moment, and lanky Deacon 
was staring. 

The white, sleek-looking yacht moved 
in midstream. The river was wide 
here, and there was a fairly strong cur- 
rent. The yacht bore down upon them 
swiftly. Someone hailed them. 

Buzz gave a sigh of relief. "Boy, 
our troubles are over!" He stood up 
and yelled a greeting. 

Suddenly, there was a crack from the 
deck of the fast-approaching yacht. 
Something whined close over the wiry 
little man's head. He dropped to his 
stomach, and stared. 

Men on the yacht were holding guns 
now. Several had rifles. All the wea- 
pons were aimed in the general direc- 
tion of the raft. 

The yacht slid smoothly alongside. 
There was the sound of powerful Diesel 
engines throbbing. Instantly men 
leaped over the rail, landed on the raft. 
They held clubs in their hands now. 



Other men covered them with guns 
from the deck rail. But one of the men 
boarding the raft made a mistake. He 
got too close to Buzz Casey. Buzz saw 
his chance, figuring those above dared 
not shoot. 

Buzz yelled, went into action. He 
leaped into the midst of the men. Dea- 
con immediately joined him. 

A terrific fight started taking place. 

PHERE had been no chance for 
Monk or his partner to reach their 
pack sacks. They carried guns in the 
packs. 

The fight, a tight, furiously moving 
mass, swayed back and forth across the 
raft. The yacht pulled away, standing 
off as a battle took place. 

Buzz slugged one fellow, dumped him 
overboard as though he were an empty 
sack. He grabbed another. He managed 
to twist one of the clubs out of the fel- 
low's hand. He hit the man a single 
crack, saw him sway crazily. Buzz 
booted him and knocked him into the 
river. He leaped back into the melee, 
the club swinging, heads cracking. 

Deacon was trying to hold his own on 
the opposite end of the raft. 

Both partners were so busy fighting 
that they had not noticed something 
about the raft. But Deacon got a quick 
view now. 

Ahead, the river divided into two 
channels where it passed a heavily 
wooded island, that lay right in mid- 
stream. The raft was doing a crazy 
circle in the river currents, swinging to 
the left of the island. But it was quite 
close to shore, moving swiftly. 

Deacon had already eliminated sev- 
eral assailants. All were in the river, 
swimming, being carried downstream. 

Three others were picking themselves 
up dazedly from the float, and looking 
somewhat amazed. They had figured 
capture of the two men was going to be 



150 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



easy. 

The three men remaining on their 
feet suddenly backed off as Buzz and 
his partner started a wedge-formed 
drive in their direction. And then, with 
wild yells, they ran back along the float 
and dived into the river. They had had 
enough. 

The yacht, meanwhile, had held 
back, its pilot apparently afraid to ven- 
ture too close to shore. And for good 
reason. 

Abruptly a submerged rock hooked 
the forward end of the moving raft, 
jammed it, and suddenly the huge float 
swiveled in the swift current and made 
a half circle, its forward end still 
jammed. Then the raft slammed against 
the river bank, pushing up beneath low- 
hanging branches that hung down al- 
most to the water. 

Someone was shouting from the 
yacht, still out in midstream. A small 
boat was being lowered over the side. 
Aid was being sent to those struggling 
in the water. 

For a moment, Buzz and Deacon 
were screened from those remaining on 
the yacht. The raft was still stuck 
against the jamming rocks. It was half 
hidden beneath the overhanging trees. 

Buzz yelled, "We'd better hurry!" 

He was ripping at a draw string on 
his pack sack. Shortly, he had one of 
the pistols in his fist. Breaking the gun 
open, he removed the shells and started 
wiping them with his shirt. 

Deacon located one of the guns in his 
sack and started doing likewise. 

Buzz grumbled, "Hope these blasted 
things still work!" 

They got the guns ready, crouched 
down near the back of the raft, and 
waited for the attack that they knew 
was soon to come. 

But before that happened, they heard 
the screaming of the girl and the sound 
was nerve- wracking. 



"DUZZ, screened by the branches, had 
been standing with one of the pis- 
tols held ready in his hand. 

Taking a desperate chance, he ran 
out along that part of the log raft which 
still protruded into the river. The small 
boat had just returned to the yacht, 
and it was loaded with men rescued 
from the river. But on the deck of the 
yacht itself, another form of activity 
was taking place. 

There were two men struggling with 
someone. Buzz stared. 

It was a girl ! 

Sunlight touching the red-gold of 
the girl's hair! He gasped. 

Lucky Williams 1 

And she was struggling with men who 
held her captive aboard the sleek-look- 
ing yacht ! 

Buzz gave a yell. He raised the pis- 
tol and fired a blast over the yacht. 

"Look out!" Deacon warned. 

Guns blasted from the yacht. Lead 
sprayed all around them, peppered the 
leaves of tree branches just above their 
heads. 

They bellied along the raft, reached 
the inland bank, dived behind protec- 
ting trees. It was either that — or get 
shot! 

The siege of the island took place 
throughout the remainder of the day. 
Each time one of them ventured out 
onto the log float, to note what was hap- 
pening aboard the yacht, there was a 
rattle of gunfire and he was forced to 
retreat to the island again. 

The yacht, Deisels throbbing as it 
held steady against the downriver cur- 
rent, lay two hundred yards off-shore. 
The yacht could not come closer than 
this because of rocks which surrounded 
the shore. 

Neither did the small boat put out 
for the island. The raiders were taking 
no chances. 

Darkness finally came, and the situa- 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



151 



tion was the same. There had been no 
further sign of the girl on deck: nor 
had they heard any further cries for 
help. 

Later that night, they heard men sud- 
denly shouting aboard the yacht. It 
sounded like there was some kind of 
trouble. Clearly across the water, they 
could hear men pounding along the 
deck, shouting. 

And then there was the girl's cry 
again. A cry of terror! 

Buzz, out on the raft now with Dea- 
con, squinted his gaze as he tried to 
see across the water. They could see 
the trim outlines of the white yacht. 

He said grimly, "I'm gonna swim out 
there! I'm gonna find out if . . ." 

Even as he spoke, they saw some- 
thing clear the railing of the yacht. 
There was a brief, shrill scream. And 
then a splash. 

Silence, strained and ominous, fol- 
lowed. 

Almost immediately the boat's pow- 
erful engines swung into a deep throb, 
and the yacht started moving upstream. 
It's speed was amazing. Within mo- 
ments it was out of sight. 

Buzz whipped off shirt and shoes, 
leaped into the river and started swim- 
ming. He soon disappeared in the sur- 
rounding darkness. 

Deacon waited. Minutes passed. A 
half hour. 

Finally he heard underbrush crack- 
ling, and then Buzz, water still dripping 
from him, appeared from behind him. 

"Worked my way back to shore at the 
other end of the island!" he said. He 
was still breathing hard from the ex- 
ertion of swimming. "Damned current 
almost got me!" he said. 

Deacon said, "And the girl — " 

Buzz held something in his hand. 
Deacon looked at the object in silence. 

It was a brightly colored scarf. Lucky 
Williams had been wearing the neck- 



erchief the last time they had seen her. 

Buzz, his features strained, said 
quietly, "I found this . . . floating in 
the river. But ... but that's all I 
found." 

The two of them stood there, and 
they were silent. 

t^INALLY, it was Deacon who said, 
"We misjudged Lucky Williams. 
She's been a captive of that crowd all 
the time. She must have tried to es- 
cape, tonight, and rather than be held 
by those devils, she jumped off the 
yacht." 

He looked at Buzz. "You don't 
think she reached shore?" 

Buzz shook his head. His face was 
somber. 

Deacon said, "We've got to get off 
this damned island. No telling if those 
birds will come back." 

Buzz nodded, "But we'd better not 
try swimming," he pointed out. "We'll 
never make the mainland." 

They spent an hour trying to pry the 
big log float loose. They used the long 
poles that had already been on the float, 
and they located pieces of heavy drift- 
wood along the shore. Using pieces of 
the driftwood as fulcrums, they pried 
the raft slowly off the rocks. It finally 
came loose and started easing away 
from the shore. They jumped aboard. 

The moon had come up now. All 
around them was the night, white and 
bright, and in the distance the dark, 
somber fringes of the forest. 

Buzz said, "We're in one hell of a 
fix now if that yacht comes back!" 

He still held one of the pistols. But 
like his partner, he realized their 
chances were slim if the yacht returned. 
They would be starkly revealed out 
there in the white moonlight. 

It was while Buzz was worrying 
about return of the yacht, that they 
heard the drone of the airplane. Both 



152 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



men stared overhead. The steady drone 
became louder, and then they saw the 
silver object silhouetted against the 
moon-bright sky. 

Buzz squinted. Then he gulped in 
amazement as the plane swooped rap- 
idly toward them and came down out of 
the skies. 

He howled, "That's our ship!" 

Ham added: "Rush must have found 
it!" 

The plane had leveled off now, was 
flying close above the water. It zoomed 
over them. They saw that a cabin 
window was open, and a man was lean- 
ing out of the plane. The man was 
holding something in his hand. 

Buzz let out a whoop and jumped to 
his feet. He started waving his arms. 

"Rush ! " he yelled. "It's Rush ! " 

Rush Randall was leaning out of the 
cabin window. Just as the plane 
skimmed close over the log raft, the 
package that he was holding dropped. 
It landed on the raft. The plane lifted 
and continued on. 

Buzz leaped toward the object that 
Doc had dropped. And then he let out 
a yell. 

"Wow!" he cried. "Food!" 

Deacon, in the meantime, had been 
watching the silver ship. He said curi- 
ously, "I wonder why Rush doesn't 
land and . . ." 

TUTE PAUSED, his gaze going up the 
river behind them. Buzz followed 
his stare. 

Like a sleek white ghost, the yacht 
had appeared again. It was moving 
downstream swiftly, heading toward 
them. 

Deacon shouted, "Rush has spotted 
that boat. That's why he didn't land. 
Look!" 

They saw the plane start to circle 
the yacht. It dropped low again. 

And then, without warning, the thing 



happened. 

A powerful searchlight sprang into 
life aboard the yacht. Its revealing 
gleam picked up the silver wings of the 
plane. 

Rush Randall must have suspected 
a trick. He immediately sent the am- 
phibian in a steep climb. The motors 
were a deep roar now. He got up to 
five hundred feet ... a thousand . . . 

The gun, that must have been 
mounted on the deck of the yacht, 
made a barr-o-o-o-om of a sound. A 
shell exploded high in the air, danger- 
ously close to the climbing ship. 

Another followed. 

Astounded, Buzz and Deacon 
watched. 

Then, suddenly, the plane stopped its 
climb, jiggled crazily in the air for a 
moment, then started a screaming de- 
scent toward the shore of the river. A 
wing dipped and the plane looked like 
it was going into a dive. 

Within seconds the plane had dis- 
appeared across the treetops. It was 
out of sight now. 

Several moments passed. Then a red 
glare touched the sky. 

Buzz gasped, "They crashed!" 

Deacon exclaimed, "Come on! We've 
got to get ashore. We've got to do 
something!" 

He grabbed up the tin box of food. 
The box was tied with rope. He 
loosened his belt, slid the belt through 
the ropes on the tin box, fastened his 
buckle again. 

Whether they would be able to out- 
swim the river currents or not, was a 
question. 

But they managed to make it. 

'"THE river made a long, sweeping 
curve near the point where they 
dived from the raft. Ahead there was 
a finger of land that jutted out into the 
curve of the river. It was toward this 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



153 



point that the river currents flowed. 

They made use of the currents. They 
managed to reach land about a half 
hour later. They dragged themselves 
up on shore. 

For moments they were too ex- 
hausted to speak. 

But thoughts of Rush drove them to 
action. They started toward the forest, 
across a bit of beach. Deacon taking a 
line on the point where the plane had 
disappeared inland. There was still 
some red glare in the sky, and they 
could use this to go by. 

Just then a tall, dark figure detached 
itself from the darkness in front of 
them and came quickly across the small 
open space. 

Both men drew up short. Then they 
stared. 

The fellow was an Indian. He held 
up a hand in caution. Buzz was al- 
ready fumbling inside his shirt for the 
pistol he had placed there . . . 

And the man said, "I am being Mike. 
I am coming from the plane." 

That stopped Buzz and Deacon. 

Deacon demanded: "You are the guy 
who disappeared in New York? You 
were with Rush Randall?" 

The big powerful fellow nodded. 
"Everything being all right. Boss man, 
he landing the plane. He saying plane 
cannot flying again, but no one being 
hurt. So he setting the plane on fire." 

Deacon said, "Smart work!" He 
looked at his partner. "Rush did that 
to fool those babies on the yacht." 

Mike, the Indian, was warning them 
to silence. "You being quiet. That 
boat landing above here. We hurry ! " 

"Where?" demanded Buzz suspi- 
ciously. 

"We going to meet others . . ." 

Too late, they saw the other figures. 
The woods were literally full of them. 
Men from the yacht! They came from 
behind the trees and they held guns in 



their hands. One man rapped: 

"Just relax, chums. Nobody's going 
any place!" 

It would have been suicide for Buzz 
to try to use the pistol. They were 
hopelessly outnumbered. 

They were seized. But at the last 
moment Buzz, in his customary fashion, 
started to fight. Someone hit him with 
the stock of a heavy rifle. He was hit 
solidly across the back of the skull. 

The night suddenly became very 
black indeed . . . 

"\X7'HEN Buzz woke up again, he saw 
that he was a captive along with 
lanky Deacon and the big Indian, Mike. 
He, along with the others, was tied hand 
and foot and lying on the floor of a 
room of sorts. The room had a pecul- 
iar way of seeming to rock beneath his 
aching head. He wished the aching 
would stop. Then he realized that the 
rocking sensation wasn't caused entirely 
by his head. 

He was in a cabin, and the cabin was 
located on some kind of boat. The 
thought hit Buzz Casey — the yacht 1 

It was the Indian, Mike, who said: 
"So you being awake?" 

Buzz stared around, twisting his 
head, from his flat position on his back. 

Deacon said unhappily, "Figure your 
way out of this mess, pal! " 

Then he turned his attention to big 
Mike. "What happened to Rush Ran- 
dall? Where were you with him?" 

Mike explained how he and Rush 
had met the girl and the guide, and 
Howard English. They had been un- 
able to locate this yacht, the Crazy In- 
dian, so a search had been started for 
Buzz and Deacon. Then they had 
found both, and when the deck gun 
had been fired at the plane Rush had 
been forced to crash land some djstance 
away. The plane had been nicked, 
Mike told them, and they had closely 



154 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



escaped death. 

Then Buzz told about the girl, and 
her apparent death. "She ducked out 
on us," he told Mike. "I don't know 
why she did that." 

Mike said, "I thinking her guide may 
be one of the crooks. He fooling her." 

Deacon asked, "You mean, the guide 
deliberately led her to this trap ... to 
this boat?" 

"Yes." 

"Who else is on the boat, Mike?" 

"I thinking all captives are being 
prisoners here." He was ready to say 
something else, when he paused, an in- 
tent expression coming to his ordinarily 
blank features. He seemed to be lis- 
tening to something. 

Watching him, Deacon asked, "What 
is it, Mike?" 

The Indian didn't seem to hear. He 
continued to listen intently. 

Then Buzz and Deacon both heard 
the faroff sound. It reached them 
through the open portholes of the small 
cabin. 

It was a sound somewhat like a loon 
call, and yet it was some other kind of 
tropical bird. Deacon could not place 
it. The faint sound affected Mike oddly. 
He was very tense. 

Deacon and Buzz, in their twisted 
positions, watched him. The sound 
did not come again. 

"What was that?" prodded Deacon, 
still watching the Indian. 

Mike started to say, "I thinking may- 
be my . . ." 

All heard a faint sound outside the 
cabin door. They forgot everything 
else as each watched the door. A key 
turned in the lock. The door started 
to open. 

And then little Buzz Casey could 
scarcely contain himself. 

She was standing there, tall, slim, 
straight, as beautiful as ever. Not a 
thing wrong with her ! 



Lucky Williams. 

HpHE redhaired girl slipped quietly 
into the room, closed the door be- 
hind her, looked toward them and made 
a motion for silence. She hurried across 
the small room. 

"Has anyone of you ... a knife?" 
she asked softly. 

Deacon moved his head. "Back 
pocket," he directed. He stared at the 
girl's face, his own showing complete 
amazement. 

She located the heavy penknife, got 
the blade open, then went to work on 
the ropes that held each captive se- 
curely. And as she hurried, she talked 
softly and breathlessly. 

"Someone might come down here any 
minute," she whispered. "I'll tell you 
what happened . . ." 

"We thought," interrupted Buzz, 
"you drowned. We heard you hit the 
water . . ." 

"Shuddup!" snapped Deacon. 

Lucky Williams continued: "That 
guide, Joe, was working for them. He 
tricked me, and brought me to this 
boat. But the rest of it ... I can't 
understand. I mean, for some reason 
they have not made me a captive. I 
have the freedom of the boat. They 
haven't looked me up, like the others." 

"The prisoners are aboard?" asked 
Deacon. 

She nodded. "I've heard their names 
mentioned." 

"How about your uncle? Have you 
seen him?" 

She shook her head. "He's the only 
one they haven't talked about. But 
they keep the cabin doors locked, and 
there's no way to find out anything. I 
can't learn a thing. My cabin's right 
down the passageway, so I knew when 
they brought you aboard. A hard, 
tough man named Mort seems to be 
their boss. I waited until they had all 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



155 



gone on deck, then I slipped in here. 
They left the key in the outside of 
the door." 

Buzz grinned. "Honey, remind me 
to kiss you later. You're a wonderful 
girl." 

Deacon groaned. 

"Listen, pal," he snapped, "start fig- 
uring a way to get off this rat trap. 
Three of us against a boat load of . . ." 

Mike, on his feet, flexing his powerful 
legs and arms, made a warning, hissing 
sound. Climbing to their feet, the others 
stared at him. Mike was standing near 
the passage door, and was intently lis- 
tening again. 

All heard the commotion above 
decks. Men were moving about, some 
running. There was a yell. 

Yet big Mike seemed to hear some- 
thing else. There was an expectancy 
about him. Abruptly he turned and 
said to them, ''My people are coming. 
Maybe we are escaping. Come!" 

Deacon's eyes were sharp. He asked, 
"That bird call that sounded like a 
loon?" 

Mike nodded. "Signal," he said. "My 
people coming." 

Buzz was rubbing his hands together. 
He exclaimed: 

"Then what the hell are we waiting 
for?" 

T"\EACON, however, paused long 
enough to look worriedly at the 
girl. He motioned to a double-tiered 
bunk in the cabin. "Hide in that upper 
berth," he suggested. "Otherwise you 
might get hurt." 

But there was a brightness in her ex- 
pressive eyes. She shook her head. 

"Not me!" she exclaimed. "I'm 
helping out too!" 

Mike had already slipped noiselessly 
from the cabin. They followed. Along 
the way they managed to locate an ob- 
ject that provided them with weapons. 



It was a long boat hook, which pow- 
erful Mike snapped into short lengths 
as though the object were a matchstick. 
They each grabbed a length of the solid 
wood. 

On deck, now, a loud racket was tak- 
ing place. 

Buzz, Deacon and the quick-moving 
Indian arrived on deck via various lad- 
ders, the girl trailing Deacon. A weird 
sight met their eyes. 

Dark-skinned, half-naked Indians 
were everywhere. They fought with 
white men who had apparently been 
taken by surprise aboard the yacht. 
The fight surged from spacious deck 
cabin to the wheelhouse and out to the 
wide decks again. 

The natives carried no weapons. 
They were all powerfully built fellows, 
and they merely grabbed the white men 
and throttled them until the crooks fell 
down. They did this in an efficient, 
strangely silent way, which made the 
battle the more amazing. 

Buzz let out a whoop and started 
cracking heads. He shouted. "These 
Joes sure gave us plenty of hell! Now 
we even the score!" 

Oddly, some of the white men seemed 
to be fighting among themselves, and 
the dark-skinned natives were grabbing 
them indiscriminately. Buzz did like- 
wise. 

The Deacon spotted Rush Randall's 
tall, blond-headed figure just disappear- 
ing down a ladder leading below deck. 
He jumped that way. The girl, Buzz 
and Mike had not seen Rush's quick- 
moving figure. There was another 
white man just ahead of Rush, Deacon 
saw. and this worried him. 

He ran along a passageway, saw Rush 
some distance ahead. Rush and the 
other man had paused near a stateroom 
door. Deacon called out. 

"Rush!" 

Rush turned, his pale, penetrating 



156 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



gray eyes bleak, and then those eyes 
lighted as he saw lanky Deacon. "I 
guess we were none too soon," he said, 
and you could tell there was relief in 
his voice. 

"I'll say!" exclaimed Deacon. He 
told about the girl releasing them, and 
of the strange bird call that Mike had 
heard. 

Rush indicated the young, dark-fea- 
tured man with him. "Deacon," he 
said, "this is Judge English's son — 
Howard English." 

HPHE two men nodded briefly. There 
was little time for formalities. Rush 
was explaining: 

"Don't ask me how he did it, but 
somehow Mike got word to his people. 
Where that hidden valley is, I don't 
even k^iow. Those natives who scared 
you off from that deserted camp the 
other night were Mike's people. They 
were after the others." 

"I'll be damned!" said Deacon, 
amazed. 

"They also located this yacht for us. 
You see, they were aware of its move- 
ments. Mike had arranged the ren- 
dezvous place here along the shore. 
Then he was captured along with you 
and Buzz. So I met his people. We 
swam out here under cover of darkness. 
If it wasn't for them . . ." 

Rush moved his broad shoulders. 

"Yeah," Deacon said grimly. 

Then he noted the ring of keys held 
in Rush Randall's hand. "What's up?" 
They were still standing before one of 
the cabin doorways. 

"We've taken care of the one called 
Mort," said Rush. "He's locked him 
up in the brig. Now we'll take care of 
the prisoners. We have the room loca- 
tions." 

He started fitting keys into the door. 

When the door was finally opened, 
the huge, fat man stood there. He 



looked none the worse for his experi- 
ence, except that he had grown a beard. 
He sputtered, growled, and finally bel- 
lowed, "Well, it's about time!" 

"Jordon Marsh," Rush said in ex- 
planation, for Deacon's benefit. Then, 
coolly, to the fat man, "Consider your- 
self lucky, my friend. You might have 
been dead." 

Fat Jordon Marsh still sputtered. 
"W T hy didn't you rescue me in New 
York, Randall? I called your office, 
asked for help ..." 

Rush interrupted quietly, "If you and 
your friends hadn't had such worldly 
ideas, none of this trouble would have 
happened." He turned to Howard Eng- 
lish. "See if he needs anything, How- 
ard. Then come along." 

HpHE fat man seemed about ready to 
explode, then looked at Rush Ran- 
dall's peculiar gray eyes, changed his 
mind and said nothing. 

They continued along the passage. 
There was some commotion ahead. 
Buzz Casey appeared with two subdued, 
very meek prisoners. He grinned when 
he saw Rush. "Got a place where I 
can lock these Joes up?" he asked. "The 
brig's already full I" 

They found an empty large cabin. 
Rush turned the key over to little Buzz, 
for the tough assistant explained, "I 
got me some more up on deck." He 
turned, added, "The battle's over, dam- 
mit!" 

Rush had been looking at cabin num- 
bers on the doors. Howard English was 
saying, "There's only the girl's uncle, 
Clarence Hobart to be accounted for. 
Dad's safe in New York, and you've 
found Jordon Marsh . . ." 

Rush nodded. 

Young English, frowning, asked, 
"Why was I kidnapped, Randall, in 
place of my father who was one of that 
partnership?" 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



137 



Rush shrugged. "Because the man 
behind this knew your father would 
pay off if you disappeared. He knew 
that your father would pay plenty for 
your release. Also, by kidnapping you, 
it kept your father from knowing too 
much." . 

''You mean," asked Howard English, 
"it would keep Dad from knowing who 
the real villian was?" 

"That's right." 
.."Who is it?" the young man asked. 

"You're going to meet him now," said 
Rush, and he opened the door beside 
which they stood. Oddly, it was not 
locked. Rush had not thought it 
would be. 

HPHE man inside jumped up nervously 
from the bunk. He was a small, 
alert, fussy little man with jumpy eyes. 
He started to gasp with relief, "Thank 
heavens you're here. I thought . . ." 

"Clarence Hobart! " exclaimed young 
Howard English. 

Rush Randall said coolly, "You can 
lay off the dramatics, Hobart. You're 
washed up." 

The fussy little man acted as if he 
was going to have a nervous breakdown. 

Rush said harshly, "Cut it!" 

And Clarence Hobart stood there, 
fluttery eyes holding on Rush Randall, 
on the strange, calculating, cool gray 
eyes, and he became silent. 

Rush motioned English and Deacon 
inside the room, then he closed the door. 
He said to the small, nervous man, 
"Your niece, Miss Williams isn't wise 
to you — yet. It explains why she wasn't 
harmed by Mort and his crowd when 
she was brought aboard this yacht. Be- 
cause it's your hideout and you've been 
behind the whole scheme." He paused, 
then added, "For her sake, possibly 
there's a way of keeping you out of 
prison. But by God, you'd better talk 
—and fast!" 



They waited. 

You could see the turmoil taking 
place in the small man's mind. It was 
mirrored on his face and in his jumpy 
eyes. 

Finally he said, "Just what do you 
mean, Randall?" 

"I mean," said Rush, "you can make 
retribution. Understand I don't hold 
with any of your crowd — you, Jordon 
Marsh or Judge English." He glanced 
at young Howard, murmured, "Sorry." 
Then: "The three of you were out to 
make a killing, only you thought you 
had a better idea than the rest. So you 
had them kidnapped. All right, let's 
have the rest of it!" 

Clarence Hobart sat down on the 
bunk. He rubbed his small hands across 
his sweaty face. Suddenly he looked 
like an old man. He murmured, "All 
right." 

The others were silent. 

Then Hobart said: "Jordon Marsh, 
as you know, was a coffee plantation 
owner in South America some years 
ago. He stumbled onto this Indian 
thing. He located the hidden valley 
where that tribe lives. He'd heard they 
live to be a hundred or more, because 
of certain herbs that grow there in the 
valley and which these Indians live 
upon. One day he took me in on the 
secret." 

"In other words," prompted Rush, 
"he wanted a little financial backing?" 

Hobart nodded. "Judge English and 
I joined him. We helped buy this yacht. 
We spent a lot of money coming down 
here and finally making friends with 
the natives. Ordinarily, they're a shy 
lot. It took several trips. Then we 
took Mike back to Florida." 

"Where you were going to raise the 
herbs in a part of the Everglades. The 
climate there, the moisture, duplicated 
that found here." 

"Yes." 



158 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



"Why?" 

LTOBART looked up, smiled dully. 
"Why does any man want to live 
to be a hundred or more? Think of the 
things he can accomplish in life. Each 
of us was active in Washington politics. 
We saw a way to outlive any who op- 
posed us and to become the greatest 
power group in history. We would be- 
come famous." 

Rush said, "The only trouble with 
that kind of power is that it gets you. 
Each of you thought it would be swell 
if you could gain complete control of 
power and wealth. So you started 
chiseling . . ." 

"Jordon Marsh did!" cried little 
Clarence Hobart. "He bled me for al- 
most every cent I had. I was going 
broke. My newspapers are mortgaged 
to the hilt!" 

Rush nodded. "So you hit upon the 
scheme of kidnapping them, shaking 
them down for several hundred thou- 
sand, and going through with the 
scheme yourself. Right?" 

Slowly, the man nodded. 

Rush sighed. "Well, this little ad- 
venture has cost me money. I have a 
plane to pay for — not counting my time 
and trouble. I can turn this whole 
rotten business over to the police, and 
you three men can pay. Take your 
choice. Remember, there's your niece 
to think about." 

Hobart's low-spoken "Yes" indicated 
he was thinking about the girl, too. 

"I think," he said softly, "we'd all be 
better off forgetting this long-life busi- 
ness. It has only led to unhappiness 
and trouble. I'll make amends with 
you." He looked at Rush. "You won't 
tell her — Lucky?" 

"I think," Rush said, "we can tell 
her that the tough little man named 
Mort was behind it. Who were the 
others?" 



Hobart explained, "Typical New 
York sharpsters who got wind of the 
deal from the man I employed. One 
group was trying to cut in on the other." 

"I thought so," said Rush. 

/"WER the forests, there was the 
calmness of the vast, silent night 
... a quiet that extended to the deck 
of the motionless yacht. 

Decks that were now cleared of fight- 
ing men. Only Rush Randall, Deacon, 
and Mike, the Indian, now stood there. 
Buzz and Howard English were below, 
seeing that all captives were locked up 
in separate cabins, or in the brig. 

Oddly, there was not another Indian 
on deck. But out there in the river, 
dark forms swam toward shore. The 
figures were fast fading in the moon- 
light. 

Mike said, "My people returning. 
They not liking trouble. They being 
always a peaceful people. I returning 
too." 

He turned to Rush and the girl. "I 
thinking it better if white men not com- 
ing here any more." 

Rush nodded. "Mike, I want to thank 
you and your people for what you've 
done. No, I don't think you'll be both- 
ered with white man's kind of civiliza- 
tion again. It isn't very good, is it?" 

Mike seemed to smile a little. He 
shook hands with them both, then 
quickly, climbed the rail. His power- 
ful, lean body Hashed overside. It cut 
the water smoothly. Then he was swim- 
ming away. 

Lucky Williams sighed. "Maybe." 
she murmured, "he has more sense than 
any of us." 

"Maybe," agreed Rush. 

The girl asked, "Rush, what was 
the meaning of those little carved minia- 
tures of Indians?" 

"Nothing, r e a 1 1 y," he explained. 
"Mike told me. His people used to 



THE CRAZY INDIAN 



150 



carve them out of mahogany. Marsh 
got hold of some of them and they got 
scattered around. They were odd 
enough to be puzzling." 

"And/' said the girl, "frightening! " 

Buzz came on deck. There was a 
large lump on his forehead and he was 
dirty and disheveled. But he seemed 
as bright as ever. 

"Boy!" he said. "Chicken! Found 
it in the galley refrigerator." He 
grabbed the girl's arm. "How about 
making some coffee, honey. Let's put 
on a feed." He glanced at Rush. "Join 
us?" 

Rush said, "In a moment. In a little 
while we'll have to divide up duties here 



on the boat. We're setting sail as 
quickly as possible. Tell Deacon he'll 
have to navigate." 

Buzz and the girl met Deacon com- 
ing along a passage. Buzz said, grin- 
ning, "Sorry you can't join us. Rush 
wants to see you about navigating the 
ship." 

"Where you going?" lanky Deacon 
asked suspiciously. 

"Got a dinner date — with a red- 
head!" beamed Buzz Casey. 

The gloominess dropped from Dea- 
con's face. He joined them. "You did 
have, pal," he said. "But three makes 
more pleasant company!" 

That started them arguing again. 



RUFFIAN DICK: 
EXPLORER 

(Continued from page 87) 



Arabic. Finally he was sent home from the school 
after very carefully attending the forbidden races 
under the watchful eyes of the proper authorities. 

The next few years were spent in India. At 
the boy's request, his father had purchased a 
commission for him in the East India Company's 
private army which still governed India. He em- 
barked, endured the boring days of heat and 
stench and monotony on the journey around the 
Cape, and landed in India on the 28th of October, 
1842. Ambitious, he set about learning the lan- 
guages, manners, customs, of the peoples of the 
East. Very unpopular among his fellow officers, 
he came home on furlough bearing the nickname 
that stuck throughout the rest of his life — that 
of Ruffian Dick. He had been over-bearing, brutal, 
and unmannerly. But what alienated his fellow 
countrymen the most was his queer behavior 
among the natives. In his free time he was al- 
ways to be found wandering in the native bazaars, 
more often than not himself in the garb of a 
native, unclean, and unashamed. He had even 
been admitted to the native order of mystics as 
a Master-Sufi ; he was an atheist ; and, very prop- 
erly, he had been forbidden active service. 

At home on a long furlough, he responded to 
the urge to write and put down his thoughts on 
paper. Several insignificant volumes were pub- 
lished. It was at this time that he met Isabel 
Arundel, who was so greatly to influence his later 
life. Her parents refused to consent to their mar- 
riage until Richard could prove himself worthy. 
Penniless and disreputable as he was, there seemed 



no chance for him. 

Setting about to answer that challenge, Burton 
prepared himself to attempt what no other white 
man had ever dared to do before . . . make the 
pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca disguised as a 
Moslem. South Arabia was still — though not 
entirely — unexplored country from the viewpoint 
of the European. The real nature of the ceremonies 
at the Kaaba, that focus and shrine of Al-Islam, 
were still uncertain. 

Obtaining a further year's furlough, Burton 
descended upon Arabia in the form of a Persian 
Moslem. Staining his skin with walnut juice, ac- 
companied by a half-witted but devoted Moham- 
medan servant, and bearing the name of Mirza 
Abdullah of Bushiri, his disguise was complete. 
In 1853 he landed in Alexandria. Cairo was 
reached by river boat. After that leg of the 
journey he felt reasonably sure of his disguise. 
The boat to Suez was loaded down with pilgrims ; 
Burton was the only white man among them. By 
the time the vessel docked at Yambu, he had 
complete confidence in his venture. 

At Yambu a camel caravan was formed. The 
trek into Arabia furnished the daring Englishman 
with his first real taste of thirst and sunglare. The 
days melted into one another, and months passed 
before Medina was sighted. Burton won a place 
in the hearts of the Mohammedans for himself 
by using his scant knowledge of medicine to gnod 
advantage. By the end of August Medina was 
reached. There caravans arriving from all direc- 
tions were formed into one huge concourse and 
made ready to march on the Holy City. 

The march began on the 1st day of September 
and was an uneventful journey of ten days inland 
toward the holiest spot in Arabia from which 
Mohammedanism had sprung. The closer Burton 
moved to the revered city of Mecca, the more 
(Continued on page 176) 



WANTED- DEAD MAN 



bit d3erheleu cJLluinaAt 



HE WAS a precise, little man. Not 
fussy, you must understand, 
but precise. Exact. Like when 
he cut the steak he ordered at The 
Howling Cat, the beanery which cat- 
ered to the Crow's Nest crew of which 
I was a member. 

He had walked in, a small man in a 
well-worn though neatly pressed dark 
suit, and with quick, quiet movements 
went to the hall tree and deposited on it 
the derby hat which was part of his 
costume. Then turning, he surveyed 
the gang at their dinner hour. I saw 
him clear his throat, as though he had 
intentions of saying something. But if 



he had intended that he changed his 
mind. Deliberately, he looked about, 
and though there were several vacant 
stools, he chose the one next to mine. 

"Ah, miss," he stopped Jenny, the 
only slinger the beanery boasted. He 
lifted a cautioning finger, the other fin- 
gers curling delicately toward his palm. 

His voice high and slightly nasal, 
brought attention to our end of the 
counter. Jenny stopped as though her 
feet had hit a glue puddle. She turned 
wide protruding eyes on him. 

"Yaas?" her husky voice asked. 

"I would like very much to have a 
steak," the little man said. "A T-bone 

They say it takes big men to 

make a big fight, but this little 

man didn't see it quite that way, 

• *L> ere was on |y one thing to do 




He stood there with the chair poised across his shoulder, watching them slug it out 

160 



162 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



steak. You may tell the chef that I 
would appreciate him broiling the steak 
for a period not to exceed five minutes 
at the end of which time he will find 
that the steak will be done to my taste, 
that is if the flames are not too high. A 
temperature of approximately eight 
hundred degrees would be about right." 

Jennie had a row of orders slung down 
the length of her arm. The wide, grey- 
ish-blue eyes went even wider, the full, 
pouting lips pouted a little fuller. And 
the high, rounded bosom, an attraction 
which we found irresistible, heaved into 
more delicious roundness. This was 
something new in Jennie's life. 

"Just sit there, mister," Jennie said. 
"Don't go away. I'll be right back." 

The stranger turned slightly puzzled 
eyes to me as Jennie continued on her 
way to her customers. 

"Don't go away?" he said, more to 
himself than to rne. "But where could 
I go in this benighted town?" 

"Well," I said, more to make con- 
versation than for any other reason. 
"You can go to the Rattery." 

"The Rattery? What's that?" he 
asked. 

"Another joint. Only more so than 
this?" I replied. 

He had peculiar eyes, I noticed. 
Where the skin on the rest of his face 
was set flush to the bone structure so 
that it looked as if someone had knotted 
it tightly at the back of his neck, his 
eyes lay buried in folds of leaden skin 
behind which peeped the palest blue 
orbs I'd ever seen. They looked like a 
pair of fleshy icicles. 

"Unless I'm greatly mistaken," he 
said, "there is under that gloomy ex- 
terior an intelligent being. At any rate 
I'll chance it. Can you tell me . . . ?" 

TXfE LOOKED away at the same 

time. Jennie had come back. She 

stood looking down at the little stranger 



as if he were a being from another 
world. He probably was, too. Dead- 
End Gulch was not the most cosmopoli- 
tan town in the country. Matter of 
fact it was just a copper town which 
owed its existence to the fact that the 
Gentry Claim lay a half-mile from its 
dust-shrouded streets. 

"Now would you come again on that 
order, mister?" Jennie said. 

The thin lips of the stranger drew 
tighter until they were a pale thread of 
flesh across the taut skin. I started to 
avert trouble but he was too quick. 

"My dear young lady," he said in 
the oddest of gentle voices. It made me 
think of a wire being drawn through a 
vise. "I don't think it's necessary to 
repeat my order because I think you 
hear perfectly well. Therefore you've 
come back for a bit of amusement at my 
expense. The proof if which, I'm sure. 
lies in the grinning countenances of 
these men watching." 

I hid a grin, quick like, behind a 
palm, and waited for the buxom Jennie 
to blow her top. It wasn't long in com- 
ing. 

"Look skinny! " she blazed out. "Any 
time you think I'd waste time on a 
sawed-off, pencil-pushing blue-nosey, 
who comes into a joint like this and 
orders like he's at the Ritz, and then 
gives the hasher lip, you're nuts! I 
don't go for no stuff like that. And if 
you don't like that — you can go to . . ." 
to . . ." 

"Atta gal, Jennie," a new voice said. 
Its harsh throatiness could only belong 
to Bull Benton, a mucker at the Gentry. 

He was sweet on the gal, just as the 
rest of us were, but in a kind of way 
that brought blood to our faces, so that 
even when he said the most innocuous 
of phrases to her, they seemed cloaked 
in vileness. I knew that suddenly I 
was hot under the collar. What was 
more, I suspected that he had put his 



WANTED— DEAD MAN 



163 



two cents in just to throw his weight 
around. He was standing to my right 
and I could get the sweetly-sour smell 
of his clothes. Sweat which hadn't been 
washed away in a long time. 

"Go on," he continued. "Tell the 
little tinhorn what you want. Old BulFll 
back you up." 

She turned on him like a tigress. "Get 
away from me, you stinkin' hunk of 
dirt," she shouted. "I don't need your 
protection . . . I don't need your help! 
Just mind your own little business 
which is feedin' your face." 

I whipped my head around as the 
little man beside me said in his pene- 
trating voice: 

"Precisely! She could not have put 
it better. So why don't you do as the 
lady suggests and go, 'feed your face.' " 

Blood made a mottled mask of the 
bearded face of the mucker. He could 
only glare in surprise at the words. 
Then their import struck home and he 
started for the little fellow. 

HpHERE'S one thing in common with 
all muckers. They're usually mus- 
cle-bound. All their work is done with 
their shoulders and legs. Benton was 
no exception. He moved like a milk- 
heavy cow. 

I whirled on my stool, sending a stif- 
fened arm at the end of which was a 
very bony elbow, into the midriff of the 
big guy. He doubled up with a howl of 
pain. It was long enough for me to 
get to my feet. 

We were about the same height but 
the resemblance ended. He outweighed 
me by twenty pounds at least. And he 
was more muscular in the right places. 
But he was slow. And that was my ace 
in the hole, my speed. 

I shoved my hand against the top 
of his head trying to get him off balance. 
It was a mistake which almost ended 
the fight before it had more than 



started. He shot both hands to the one 
I had on his hair, and jerked down, at 
the same time butting upward with his 
head. 

I ducked, that is partly; his head 
caught me a glancing blow along the 
cheekbone and ripped the flesh as 
though he had used a knife. It was a 
good thing I was wearing cleated boots. 
Even as I went back I kicked sideways, 
the cleats catching him just below the 
kneecap and again almost doubling him 
up. 

I heard the sound of Jennie's scream 
as my blood spattered the counter when 
I whipped my head to clear it of the 
pain-fog. Then I could see clearly 
again. And Bull was charging in. I 
danced out of the way and as he went 
past. I clipped him but good. He half- 
fell against the counter almost knocking 
it over. Once more there was the high- 
pitched sound of Jennie's voice. But 
I heard it only in the back of my mind. 
Because I was busy trying to wear my 
knuckles down on Bull's jaw. He 
grunted every time I hit him, but those 
thick legs of his kept moving him for- 
ward. His arms were high, he was 
wide-open, and I was slugging the hell 
out of the guy, but he kept coming in 
for more. I knew what he wanted, to 
get me in the circle of those arms. And 
what they'd do to me once they got me 
there. 

One eye was closed where I hit him 
with a straight right. But the other was 
staring with a fearful intensity into 
mine as he moved forward. I feinted 
with my left. Instinctively he blinked, 
and I started a right hook with all the 
power at my command, straight for the 
button . . . And fell over one of the 
spectator's legs. I landed hard enough 
to knock the breath right out of me. 

And Bull was over me, his arms still 
hooked, his body bent at the waist. I 
could see he was going to give me the 



LG4 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



miner's knockout, jump on me with 
both cleated boots. And he wasn't going 
to hit me in the belly. It was my face 
he was after. I saw his tongue come out 
in curious concentration, saw his pants 
belly out as the huge leg muscles con- 
tracted in their jumping movement, and 
saw him suddenly topple sideways. 

'"THE little guy just stood there, the 
broken chair gripped in his hands; 
he stood there looking down at the 
knocked out Bull, and turned slowly, 
deliberately to the rest and said: 

"I don't approve of fighting like 
that." 

I guess I ran lightning a close second 
the way I got to my feet. The place 
was full of miners. I knew these guys. 
Their conception of fair play was a 
long way from the man who had saved 
me. No fight, no matter how dirty it 
may seem, brooked interference. Even 
as I stepped to his side I could hear the 
growls of the men. 

Without turning my head from the 
circle of sullen, bearded faces which had 
suddenly formed a ring about us, I took 
the chair from the little guy. I felt a 
surge of admiration for him. He was 
breathing in gentle nasal gasps. And 
I could see from the corner of my eye 
that he was as unflustered as if all this 
was a meeting he was to address. 

"Better step aside. Gloomy," some- 
body said from the rear. I have always 
noticed that it's always someone from 
the rear who starts the ball rolling, 
keeps feeding the flames. The guys in 
front are the ones who do the battling. 

"Okay, boys," I said softly. "Fight's 
over. Go on back to your eatin'." 

"Fight's over for you," the voice said. 
"But not for nosey Joe. We want him!" 

"Better do as Gloomy says," Jennie's 
voice commanded. 

She was suddenly the center of the 
stage. I guess we had all forgotten her 



in the excitement of the fight. She was 
unforgettable now. I looked up at her; 
she stood on top of the counter, a .45 
looking a bit incongruous in her hand, 
yet somehow as if it belonged. And 
her eyes were narrowed in determina- 
tion. There was no doubt in my mind 
that if needs be, she would use the gun. 
I guess it struck the rest that she would, 
too. 

"If you guys think," she continued, 
"that I'm goin' to run my size nines 
down to the ground because your food 
got cold, you got another think coming. 
That hash you ordered's gettin' mighty 
heavy just sittin' around. And I ain't 
gonna cook up a new mess." 

That did it. Jennie was not only the 
waitress, she was also the cook, and the 
proprietor of the place. Someone 
laughed, another said, "Atta gal, Jen- 
nie," and another said, "Well nothin's 
cookin', gang, let's go." 

The sigh that I heaved came right out 
of my boot tops. No wonder it 
squeaked, the way I laced up my twelve 
inchers. But the little guy wasn't fazed 
at all by the excitement. He resumed 
his seat and turned again to me. It was 
as if nothing had happened. 

"Uh," I began, "uh, thanks for . . ." 

"You know," he said, interrupting 
me, "she is a primitive sort. Simple. 
But on the whole a rather decent sort. 
Might even say, splendid, in her own 
way." 

"Jennie? Yeh," I said, falling in to 
his mood. "A good kid. Came out 
here on her own, opened up this place 
and made a go of it through her own 
perseverance and . . . huh, charm." 

"Plural, you mean," he said. 

I thought I detected a twinkle in 
those cold, blue icicles. Of a sudden 
I realized that I liked this strange little 
man. Why, I didn't know. Yet I felt 
that there was something about him 
which compelled my liking. 



WANTED— DEAD MAN 



165 



T GRINNED down at him. He smiled, 
a rather shy twisting of the lips. 
Then the smile was wiped away by an 
intent, questioning look. 

"As I started to say, before the ruck- 
us began, you look like an intelligent 
sort. I've come to this place to find 
someone." 

I put my hand on his arm, turned my 
face from him and looked to where 
Bull had fallen. The big mucker had 
skipped my mind entirely. I was just 
in time to see his friend, a ratty indivi- 
dual, called Jimsy, assisting him 
through the door. Then I turned back 
to the stranger. 

"As I was saying, I came to find 
someone. A man named Alex Soren- 
sen," the little man said. 

Sorensen, Sorensen, I thought. The 
name was familiar, but . . . 

"What about this Sorensen?" I 
asked. 

"I have to deliver something to him," 
he said. "I heard he works at the 
Crow's Nest." 

"Could be," I said. "Lots of Swedes 
up there." 

"He's not a Swede," the stranger 
said. "He's a Norwegian." 

"What's the difference? He's big, 
blond and dumb, like the rest of them." 

"You work there also?" he asked. 

"Yeah. I'm a machine man." 

His eyes narrowed in bewilderment. 
"What's that?" he asked. 

"A fancy name for a dynamite tap- 
per," Jennie said. She was standing 
before us, her right arm loaded with 
dishes, the topmost two bearing steaks 
from which smoke faintly curled. She 
set them before us and a couple of side 
dishes of potatoes and vegetables, and 
said: 

"I don't know whether that's been 
broiled like you want it. But it's done 
like I'd want it. Now don't let me see 
any of that steak on the plate when I 



come for your dessert order." 

There wasn't any, either. Jennie 
could cook like she had the gift. The 
stranger's eyes were alight with pleas- 
ure and he exuded a warmth which I 
imagined was unusual with him, after 
the first bite. 

As I said in the beginning, he was a 
precise little man. It showed in the 
way he cut his steak. Not fussy. Pre- 
cise! The pieces were all of one pat- 
tern and size. I imagined he was that 
way in everything he did. Nothing ever 
to be left to chance. The kind of man 
who was meant to be an auditor, or 
clerk in some lawyer's office. I could 
see him drawing up briefs, meticulously, 
briefs like traps, from which there were 
no loopholes of escape. Everything in 
its place and a place for everything. 

We got back to Sorensen, after our 
coffee. 

"Do you know many of the men who 
work there?" he asked. 

"Well," I said, "there's about six 
hundred working the three shifts. Cop- 
per's in great demand. Of course I've 
only been here some ten months. And 
the claim's been going since the year 
before the war. However . . ." 

"Yes," he nudged me with the word. 

"I know the night man in the office. 
I imagine he'd go through the payroll 
sheets if I asked him." 

"He would? Splendid.'" the little 
guy crowed. He had a queer way of 
accenting words to give them special 
meaning. 

T LOOKED at my watch. Just eight. 
We had another four hours to go be- 
fore my shift went on. I got up from 
the stool and said: 

"No use sitting here all night. Doing 
anything?" 

"Why, no. I just got into town a little 
while ago. Took the bus in from Doug- 
las. A rather rough ride, too. Matter 



166 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



of fact, I'll have to look for a room to- 
night. But I was so hungry I couldn't 
resist dining first." 

I looked toward the tree on which his 
derby hung. There was no bag below 
it. Nor did I remember him having 
any. He intercepted the look. 

'T left it at the bus station," he ex- 
plained. 

"Let's get it," I suggested. "He 
closes a little after eight. The last 
auto-bus comes in then. " 

The Howling Cat was just around 
the corner from the station but we had 
to cross the dark depths of an alley be- 
fore we hit the corner. The Motor 
Transports, a trucking outfit had their 
siding just past the alley's mouth. I 
was a little ahead of the little guy, sort 
of leading the way, when all of a sud- 
den a human catapault hit me at the 
bend in the back of my knees and I 
fold over like a broken accordion. I 
think the sound of the shot came a sec- 
ond later. 

I was a little shaky when I got to my 
feet. 

The little guy was standing, facing 
the darkness of the alley. He was sort 
of bent in a crouch. I noticed that his 
right hand was held kind of high and 
close in to his left breast, and that hand 
was hooked like a claw. Then he turned 
to me and iaid: 

"Looks like someone was practicing 
pistol shooting. It was a fortunate 
thing he stood before the overhead light 
there." 

I followed his pointing finger. The 
truckers had rigged up an overhead 
light just above their platform. It was 
a three hundred watter at least. And 
I got the little guy's meaning. Who- 
ever had taken the pot-shot had been 
outlined. He had seen the shadow in 
time to my life — or his life. I said as 
much. 

He shrugged his narrow shoulders 



and said: 

"No use worrying about it. They're 
gone." 

I laughed sharply. Who the hell was 
going after them. Certainly not up that 
alley. 

TJTE HAD a single bag, a plain leather 
affair. I lugged it for him up to 
the Joslyn House, the only hotel in 
town. 

"Well," he said after we had left the 
room and descended to the lobby, "what 
do we do now?" 

"There isn't much to do, Mr. Beem- 
ish," he had registered as Sylvester 
Beemish. "Except do a bit of drinking, 
or go back to the Cat, or shoot a 
little . . ." 

"I think I've had enough of shooting 
for one night," he said. 

"We can sit here and talk," I said. 
"Frankly, I'm curious about that 
Swede." 

"He's a." he began sharply, then less 
irately, "what's the difference? We've 
been looking for him. It seems that he 
has something coming to him . . ." 

"We?" ... I said. 

"Oh, I only represent these people," 
Beemish said. "There is a matter of 
debt . . . Sorensen is involved, and so 
I was sent to find him. It has been a 
long quest, I assure you?" 

"Why? Where are you from?" I 
asked. 

"From . . ." he hesitated, then went 
on, "Chicago." 

"Wouldn't it be a hell of a thing if 
you were chasing the wrong man?" 

"It would be," he said. "Though I 
don't think so." 

"You mean you've got a picture of 
him, a description to go on?" I asked. 

"Yes." 

"Well," I said. "That makes things 
simpler. Mind if I see it?" 

(Continued on page 168) 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



167 




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168 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



WANTED: DEAD MAN 

By Berkeley Livingston 



(Continued from page 166) 

He slipped his hand inside the breast 
pocket of his serge suit and pulled out 
a picture. It was of a thick-shouldered 
smiling man, whose bland and rather 
full features showed no distinguishing 
traits. 

"Looks like any of a hundred 
Swedes," I said. 

"My God!" Beemish exclaimed. 
"Aren't there any others but Swedes 
who work here?" 

"Swedes and Mexs," I said. "This 
is Arizona. Mines depend on cheap 
labor. South of the border labor is 
cheap and men work hard for a few 
bucks a day. The biggest end of get- 
ting copper is a hard, dirty job. And 
lately they've been stopping new open- 
ings. That meant new help, muckers 
particularly, had to be hired. Mexs, 
of course. But to get back to the 
Swedes, somehow they've always been 
associated with digging of one sort or 
another. And they make good foremen." 

Beemish digested that in silence. 

I asked, 'Is there more besides the 
picture? Y'know, identifying labels?" 

"Sure," Beemish said, and suddenly 
reached for my hand, pulling it off the 
chair side and turning it palm-up. "Sor- 
ensen had a . . ." he stopped and his 
eyes went wide when he saw the criss- 
cross of a dozen lacerations. "What un- 
der the sun happened to you?" he 
asked. 

"Some caps went off when rocks fell 
on one," I said. "That fulminate makes 
a hell of a show." 

"So I see," he said slowly. "Soren- 
sen had a peculiar scar on his palm. I 
was going to show you what it looked 
like." 



T WAS still holding the photograph in 
my hand. I looked at it once more 
and noticed a peculiar graininess in the 
texture. Beemish must have noticed 
that I wasn't paying any attention to 
him, for he sullenly asked: 

"What's wrong? Do you recognize 
something about the photo?" 

I shook my head. "N-no," I said. 
"Or rather, I should say that the photo- 
graph strikes a chord of sorts. But 
we'll soon know. We'd better get to 
the office before the shift goes on. Pay- 
roll'll be made up tonight and he'll have 
all the sheets there." 

Johnny was in the supe's shack. I'd 
left Beemish outside, explaining to him 
that it were best he did so. Johnny 
was alone. I asked him what I wanted 
and he showed me the sheet. I hap- 
pened to look through the window and 
saw Beemish's face through the glass. 
He was watching us. I smiled grimly at 
him and nodded my head to show him 
that I'd gotten what he wanted. 

He was impatient, inwardly excited; 
it showed in the sudden jerky sound of 
his high voice: 

"Well? Did you find out?" 

"Yes," I said. "Funny thing, Sor- 
ensen's working on my shift and in the 
same stope. Of course we don't ask 
anyone their name, but usually some- 
body knows." 

"So what do we do now?" he asked. 

"Tell you what," I said. "Come along 
with me. I've got to get things ready. 
And by the time I'm through, the rest 
of the shift will be there." 

He was willing. 

We hitched a ride on a dump truck 
going back in number twenty. At the 
short branch I hopped off, picked up a 
couple of helmets and lamps for the 
two of us, got the lamps going, and 
started down the railbed. 

We were about twelve hundred feet 
(Continued on page 170) 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



160 



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MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 



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WANTED: DEAD MAN 

(Continued from page 168) 



in. The air was still okay but I knew 
that another hundred feet, where the 
tunnel narrowed and made the turn 
toward the stope I was working, the air 
would become heavier, damper. 

There was the sound of voices and 
feet coming toward us. I stopped Beem- 
ish and drew him back along some 
muck sheets along the damp walls. He 
grunted a sour something about his suit. 
Then the crew came along, their lamps 
making glow-worm lights in the near 
distance. They all looked curiously at 
the neatly dressed Beemish. A couple 
of them greeted me. Then they were 
gone. 

At the turn we clambered over two 
trucks lying empty on the tracks and 
started up the stope. Timbers blocked 
Beemish but I showed him around them 
and we came to the stope. 

"It's a shame about your suit," I 
said. "There's a good bit of water 
seepage here and this muck's heavy 
with it." 

"Must we come here?" he asked bit- 
terly. 

"If you want to meet Sorensen?" I 
said. 

"Lead on," he said. 

TV/TY HAMMER was lying near the 
neatly coiled hose. I looked up 
at the face of the wall I was going to 
blow. Tom, my helper had done a good 
job of marking. Fifteen streaks of sil- 
ver against the grey walls showed where 
he'd tapped out my markings. I at- 
tached the hose to the hammer, let it 
take a couple of snorts to clear it and 
turned to Beemish. 

He was standing against the wall 
watching me. The taut skin of his 
face looked leaden, and hi? eyes were 



WANTED— DEAD MAN 



171 



slits of glowing ice. His hands hung 
limply at his sides. He coughed a sigh 
and said : 

"How long before Sorensen gets 
here?" 

I shrugged my shoulders and bent 
over the cases of Hercules. A fifty foot 
coil of fuse and four boxes of caps lay 
beside one of the cases of dynamite. I 
knelt down and slipped my knife out, 
began to notch the fuse into two foot 
lengths. 

Suddenly I felt him standing over me. 

I turned my head and looked up at 
him. He was grinning, tight-lipped at 
me. It was an odd grin, twisted, bitter, 
vengeful. 

"What the hell did you think you'd 
gain by telling me that Sorensen will 
be here?" he asked. 

I started to stand and that hand, 
delicate and small as a woman's, went 
to his shoulder holster with a deadly 
speed. 

"Stay put, Sorensen," he snarled. 

I felt cold all of a sudden, and it 
wasn't because there was a chill in the 
air. Just the look on his face was 
enough. It was a death's head looking 
at me. 

"What do you mean, Beemish?" I 
asked. 

"Did you think you were fooling 
me," he asked, "by dyeing your hair 
black, losing weight and scarring your 
hand up that way. I've been on your 
trail too long. Three years." 

I got tired of kneeling so I twisted 
over and sat, my back against the pile 
of muck. His hand had come out. 
There was a short-barreled automatic 
in his palm. The black hole from which 
death was going to come at me looked 
like the finger of doom. 

"No," I said slowly, "I didn't think 
I was fooling you. Nor did you fool 
me. You look like your brother. The 
same features, though he was heavier. 



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But not meaner. But tell me, why did 
you put your two cents in at the restau- 
rant? And back there when we were 
coming to the bus station?" 

"Because I wanted it like this," he 
said. "And that bullet wasn't meant 
for either you or me. Someone was just 
shooting for some reason. But I thought 
I'd throw your mind off any track it 
might take leading to suspicion." 

I laughed, though I didn't feel like 
laughing. It's hard to be gay when 
death is standing beside you. And this 
guy was a killer. 

T NEEDED time. I had to have it. 
Talk was one way of gaining it. I 
talked. 

"No. You didn't fool me. That pho- 
tograph, for instance, was a copy. It 
was made from another picture. The 
original had a grained finish. Yours 
showed the grain of the original. Then 
the business of the scar. You grabbed 
my hand, just to make sure, No. You 
didn't fool me too much." 

"You almost did though ," he said. 
"The Alex I was told to get and the 
picture I had didn't stack up to what 
you looked like. But you gave yourself 
away." 

I wondered how. He continued: 

"First by little things. Like your 
deliberately wanting to forget that Sor- 
ensen was a Norwegian. You kept in- 
sisting he was a Swede. Then a lifetime 
of talking like an educated man can't 
be lost in a few years. But the clincher 
was . . ." he paused dramatically for 
a second, then went on, "the fight you 
had with the big guy. Once a guy's 
been a fighter, he never forgets how to 
handle his mitts. That straight right 
after a double feint . . . only you had 
it. I've seen you fight. And I sud- 
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left leg a trifle just before you'd send 
that right in." 



WANTED— DEAD MAN 



173 



There was a silence for a few seconds 
after that. 

''So they didn't forget, did they?" I 
asked. 

"You mean about welching on that 
deal?" Beemish asked. "No. Not till 
hell freezes over. You were supposed 
to blow that fight. But no, you got mad 
because Harris was fighting dirty. So 
you knocked him out. Well, the big 
guy lost fifty grand on that fight. He 
swore to get you." 

"He always was a bad loser, that 
brother of yours, wasn't he?" I said. 

I didn't see his hand move. And I'm 
not the slowest man in the world. But 
before I could more than shift the 
smallest bit, the barrel had smacked 
me along the side of my skull. Stars 
swung around me and for a second I 
blacked out. Then his face swam into 
view again. The grin was wider, now. 
He was enjoying this. He was his 
brother's blood. 

"God damn you!" he grated. "My 
brother fried because of that fight. 
That's why I'm here. Not because of 
fifty grand." 

My mouth popped open. I felt a 
sticky wetness slide down the side of 
my face where the barrel had raked me. 
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bad way, sitting on my haunches the 
way I was. But I had to take the 
chance. He was already on the verge 
of letting me have it. So I heaved the 
knife straight at his head, at the same 



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174 



MAMMOTH ADVENTURE 




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time scrambling erect. The knife caught 
him over the eyes, getting him off guard 
for a minute. 

But quick as I was, he was faster. 
That damned gun came up again and 
smacked me, gashing my mouth from 
the right corner all the way up the 
cheek. Worse, it stopped me cold. 
Through a haze of blood and pain I 
saw the gun come up. Somehow I 
knew it was aimed at my head; I 
ducked, though a thought came to me 
how futile it was. The gun went off 
in a flash of red and a sound like thun- 
der. But that shot wasn't meant for 
me. 

I stepped in and hit him. He went 
back on his heels and I followed fast, 
my hands clawing for the gun. 

T NEVER even saw his foot come up. 
I only felt it strike me. The whole 
damned tunnel exploded in a wave of 
pain as he caught me squarely in the 
groin. I don't know how many times 
he hit me from then on. There was a 
feeling like I was sinking under a warm 
blanket and everything went dark. 

Something struck me in the side. I 
groaned and opened my eyes. He was 
standing over me, that damned gun 
pointed at my middle. I reached in 
sudden sickness and he laughed at the 
sound. 

"Get up!" he said. 

I got to my feet, weaving like I was 
drunk. 

"Now tie that fuse around your mid- 
dle," he commanded. 

I did as he said. 

"Now stick one end into one of those 
sticks of dynamite." 

I understood what he wanted then. 
He was going to make me blow myself 
to kingdom come. 

I broke open the top to one of the 
sticks and inserted the fuse. Then he 
made me face the wall. When I was 



WANTED—DEAD MAN 



175 



the way he wanted me he stepped to my 
side, shoved the gun against my back 
and brought the stick around so that 
I couldn't reach it. I wondered what 
he was up to. 

"Put your hands behind your back," 
he said. 

When I did, he slipped a piece of 
rope around my wrists. He had evi- 
dently made a loop while I was out be- 
cause he just slipped it taut. Then he 
told me to turn around again. Before 
I knew what he was doing, he went 
down to his knees and slipped another 
noose around my ankles. Then he 
pushed me down. I fell flat on my 
face, gashing my nose on a piece of 
razor-edged quartz. 

I heard a match sputter, then heard 
the unforgettable sound of a piece of 
fuse taking fire. 

"In a little while," I heard him say. 
"that fuse will burn to where it'll fall 
off. But you won't be able to do any- 
thing about it. I'd love to stay and 
watch you try to take those ropes off. 
That'd be a race I'd like to see. But I 
can't. It'll be an accident. And I'm 
in the clear. Easy, isn't it?" 

Once more his foot drew back and 
came at me. This time he ripped the 
flesh right off my cheek. It was his 
farewell to me. 

Turning, he scrambled down the 
slope. I heard his feet move off in 
the darkness. Then he made the turn 
in the tunnel. I waited for a few sec- 
onds. It came. A shrill scream of fear 
. . . then silence. 

He had fallen into the shaft. It was 
three hundred feet to the bottom. We 
had pumped the water out of it when 
number twenty was flooded. I had 
fixed his lamp so that the flame would 
not last more than ten minutes. It had 
gone out just as he had made the turn. 
Coming up, I had shielded the pit with 
my body. He'd never noticed it. 



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I bit my lips until they bled. Then 
there was the sputtering sound of the 
fuse expiring. It takes two things, fire 
and percussion to make dynamite ex- 
plode. There was no cap in the stick 
I'd fixed up. 

I was very sick then. But he was 
dead . . . 

THE END 



RUFFIAN DICK: 
EXPLORER 

(Continued from page 150) 



perilous his. position became. It was certain death 
if his true identity as an unbeliever should be 
discovered. His remarkable linguistic ability stood 
him in good stead. Quiet and unpretentious, he 
drew little attention from the rest. But always his 
dark eyes darted to and fro taking mental notes 
for the future, so that the outer world, the world 
of the West, might someday know what they had 
only been able to guess at for so many years. 
Were the stories true that told about the fabulous 
riches of Mecca? What did the mysterious rites 
consist of? Burton was bent on finding out. At 
last, shining white and dirty in the sunlight, stood 
Mecca. Burton's heart rose high at the sight. 

Now he was called upon to exercise even greater 
skill in imitating the actions of the others, utilizing 
all the patience at his command to maintain the 
character of a pilgrim. He had to live the Arab 
as completely as it was possible for any alien to 
do. And he seems to have done it very completely. 

There followed days of pilgrimage to this and 
that site throughout the Holy City, culminating 
in the visit to the Kaaba, that centre of Islam, 
older than Islam itself, with the sacred black 
stone much be-kissed by the crowding pilgrims. 
Burton, when it came his turn, knelt and kissed 
with an equal piety but a sharp eye. He noted 
the texture and appearance of the stone, decided 
that it was an aerolite, stored the fact away in 
his mind for future use, and passed on with pray- 
ing lips and hooded eyes. . . . 

The strain on Burton was very great. He was 
haunted by the thought that some night, some 
hour, his veil would slip aside, and he would be- 
tray by alien gesture or motion that un-Islamic 
soul of his. Then the caravan gathered and Mecca 
became once more a mere speck on the horizon. 
Burton reached the British consulate on the coast 
a different man. Memories of little indignities and 
the discomforts he had to bear preyed upon his 
sensitive mind until outwardly in every respect 
he was likened to the Ruffian Dick people had 
dubbed him. The account he later published of 
his exploit in penetrating Arabia cast off the veil 



RUFFIAN DICK: EXPLORER 



177 



of darkness that had hung over It for so long. 

Back in service in India, he was selected to 
undertake a new venture, this time in the interest 
of the East India Company. For some time the 
Indian Government had toyed with the idea of 
the exploration of Eastern Africa, particularly 
Somaliland. They wished to know the population 
of the region, the habits and appearances of its 
people, the exact location of the forbidden city of 
Harar, far inland. Burton's proposal was that he 
be landed on the East African shore, with suitable 
provisions and money, in the company of two 
others. The expedition would set out across the 
country, visit mysterious Harar, pass on to Gan- 
anah, and so reach Zanzibar. 

Without delving into the actual day-by-day 
account of the incidents which befell the group, 
it is enough to say that the venture was a com- 
plete success from the standpoint of knowledge 
gained. On the other hand, the sufferings and 
hardships of the trail from raiding bands of rob- 
bers, from dangerous animals which lurked nearby 
in the night, dysentery and fever, made the effort 
call for a very rare brand of heroism. Burton 
returned home with scars. A Somali had thrust a 
javelin into the explorer's mouth, lacerating his 
lips and cheek. 

Resting in England he wrote his "First Foot- 
steps in East Africa." Burton's now peaceful and 
placid existence got on his nerves, and he was 
anxious to be off again. The Arundel family still 
regarded him as an unfit son-in-law and advised 
him to make an attempt at success in his own 
profession. 

The Crimean War was now being waged. Burton 
sailed for the Crimea on his own responsibility. 
There he joined Beaton's Irregulars, became adju- 
tant, drew up elaborate plans for new modes of 
cavalry attack and general tactics, and impatiently 
awaited action. 

He waited in vain. The war dragged on, by 
now a war of siege and sortie and repulse, hav- 
ing little or no need for gay irregulars in cavalry 
uniform. Burton sank to quick despondency . . . 
and as he dreamed of what he might be doing, 
his thoughts drifted to Africa again and the pos- 
sibilities of another expedition, this time to seek 
out the sources of the Nile. 

Back in England after the war, Burton laid 
his plans before the Royal Geographical Society. 
Remembering his joumey to Harar and also the 
news of Livingstone's discoveries in the southern 
parts of Central Africa, Burton's plan interested 
them. The primary object of the expedition would 
be to ascertain the limits of the Sea of Ujiji — a 
great sheet of water of which rumor had travelled 
down to the East Coast. He was also to in- 
vestigate the exportable produce of the interior 
and the ethnography of its tribes. 

With a grant of 1,000 pounds and Speke to 
accompany him, Burton set out on his fourth 
journey into unknown regions. It was a large 
and well-equipped expedition which disembarked 



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at Zanzibar in December, 1856. A thorough study 
was made of every aspect of the island and its 
people. This took several months and it was not 
until June of the next year that the expedition 
headed into the interior. Burton was the first 
white man to look upon Lake Tanganyika. 

Burton set about to plan for a thorough ex- 
ploration of the lake region. Too ill to move he 
called Speke to him and laid before him a tenta- 
tive plan. Speke agreed to take half the caravan 
and set out on the mission. When Speke later 
rejoined Burton he had vague news to tell of a 
great lake he discovered. Burton became disgusted 
with the roundabout replies he received to his 
queries and gave up. The caravan set out for the 
coast. 

While Burton lay ill in the hospital, Speke 
hurried to England. He published an account of 
the expedition, stressing his own discovery of the 
lake he named Victoria Nyanza, made no mention 
of Burton, and affirmed his opinion that the Nile 
rose in the Victoria Nyanza. He was greeted with 
great acclaim, honored everywhere, and funds 
were raised to equip a new expedition under his 
command. Burton arrived in England to find him- 
self robbed of his fame. 

At this time Richard Burton faded from public 
view. He wrote bitter articles against Speke which 
were not widely read, and then looked about for 
something to do. Voyaging to America he spent 
some time with the Mormons. He returned to 
write the usual book and to marry Isabel Arundel. 
To the end of his days, he moved from one 
foreign and distant shore to another. Appointed 
counsel to Fernand Po, then Brazil, Damascus. 
and Trieste, his curiosity for new places was only 
partly satisfied. When well over fifty he rode out 
in search of the Gold Mines of Midian from Da- 
mascus, spent a vigorous holiday in Iceland, and 
continued writing manuscript after manuscript. 
Finally, between 1885 and 1888 he set to the 
translating of a completely literal English version 
of the "Arabian Nights." The translation was 
very well received, and Burton was now a rich 



DECEMBER 1946 

SCIENCE COMICS 

Now available. Eight pages of scientific oddi- 
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10c Mich (Send coin only) 

ZIFF-DAVIS PUBLISHING CO., DEPT. S 

185 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago 1, Illinois 



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Let your HEAD take you 



(The average American today has a choice of just going 
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look at John fonts — and listen to him , . ,) 

"/-^omrtimf.s I fee! *a good il almost scares me. 

O "This house— I wouldn't swap a shingle off its roof 
for Liny other house i n earth. This little valley, with rhe 
pond down in the hollow at rhe back, is the spot I like best 
in all the world. 

"And they're mine. I <wn 'em. N"obod\ can take em 
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"I've sot -' little mone\ cormng in, regular! v. Not much 
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to have tomorrow— char's as near Heaven as man gets on 
this earth 1 

"It wasn't alwat - --o. 

"Hack in '40- that was right atter the war and somenmes 
the going wasn't too easy — I needed cash. Taxes were tough, 



and then Ellen got sick. Like almost everybody else, I was 
buying Bonds through the Payroll Plan— and I figured on 
cashing sonic of them in. But sick as she was, it was Ellen 
who talked me out of it. 

" 'Don't do it, John!' she said. 'Please don't! For the first 
time in our lives, we're really saving money- It's wonderful 
m know that everv single payday we have more money put 
aside! John, if we can only keep up this saving, think what 
it can mean! Maybe someday you won't have- to work. 
Maybe we can own a home. And oh, how good it would feel 
to know that we need never worry about money when we're 
old! 

"Well, even after she got better, I stayed away from the 
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he has a right to. We didn't have as much fun for a while 
but we paid our taxes and the doctor and — we didn't touch 
the Bonds. 

"What's more, we kept right on putting our extra cash 
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